3D printing has been dubbed by many as “the third industrial revolution.” The possibilities empowered by the capabilities of 3D printing have become more widespread in recent years as 3D printing has become more affordable, more user friendly, and more broadly functional. Modern 3D printing technology spans a wide range of techniques and materials with commercial and industrial applications in almost every field, such as manufacturing, dental care, healthcare, architecture, and even art. Now, state-of-the-art professional 3D printing is available to the Rio Grande Valley through Foldio 3D Printing Solutions.
Any individual with any project in mind can come to Foldio for help executing their vision through 3D scanning and printing, bringing a sketch and walking out with a professional prototype or finished product. The company offers both professional services and self-service in planning and design, CAD modeling, laser scanning, and 3D printing. Foldio works with manufacturing companies, small businesses, hopeful entrepreneurs, designers, hobbyists, artists, and the general public. In addition, Foldio has partnered with top manufacturers to offer advanced professional and commercial 3D printers, scanners, and software to help produce objects in high detail in a variety of plastics, metals, rubber, nylon, elastic materials, ceramic, and more. “Every day, the field of 3D printing is removing more and more boundaries and exploding the possibilities of ways makers of all types, from artists to engineers, can bring their ideas to reality,” said Jose Laguna, Foldio CEO.
Businesses across the U.S. are increasingly using 3D scanning and printing at all phases of the product lifecycle — from concept models and prototypes to small and large-scale manufacturing. Foldio is helping businesses benefit from new capabilities to help reduce time-to-market while also cutting costs and maximizing production efficiency. The company will guide businesses through planning, selection, and implementation as well as ongoing support. “We enable manufacturing companies to move through iterations of product development prototypes much faster and at a lower cost. Our technology also enables the creation of end-user ready and even moveable, functional parts in a single print,” Laguna said.
Foldio is newly established in their location inside the new Center for Economic Education and Development (CEED) building in Mission, but the company founded by Laguna has 25 years of experience in the managed printing services and document management industry in Mexico. He explains that they chose the Rio Grande Valley because of its huge potential. “This area is geographically strategic,” Laguna said. “We have access to both markets, and the manufacturing along the border, so it’s a good point from which to grow.”
Alex Meade, CEO of Mission EDC, says 3D printing is the wave of the future. “It is already transforming the manufacturing industry. Having forward thinking tenants, like Foldio, will not only allow Mission EDC to stay on top of the latest trends but will help add to the creative culture that we are focused on cultivating at CEED.”
Local institutions recognize the potential of 3D technology. Foldio is now working together on makerspaces which are now under early development inside both the CEED in Mission, where Foldio is currently located, and UTRGV’s Center for Innovation and Commercialization (CIC) which will open December 2017 in Weslaco.
“Access to prototyping has been a huge problem for innovators in the valley,” says Laurie Simmons, Director, UTRGV Center of Innovation and Commercialization (CIC). “Through our partnership with Foldio, we hope to fill this gap. Our goal at the CIC is to help start-up companies go from concept to the marketplace. Having 3D technology at the center will give innovators the opportunity to test their concept. Hopefully the concepts that work will launch into a scalable business.”
As the use of commercial 3D printing continues to grow exponentially, so will the demand for skilled designers and engineers. To help prepare the next generation, the company is working with public schools throughout the region to help educators in both STEM and career-related curriculum. In addition, efforts like the makerspace inside Mission CEED will help prepare students for advanced careers. “We’re going to bring the technology closer to students and local innovators, and will collaborate with them on projects so they can start developing prototypes,” Laguna said. “As we grow, we hope to have internships available that will eventually become full-time jobs.”
Foldio also envisions to build a network of various manufacturing and “making” companies across the RGV. These range from classical machine shops and fabricators (subtractive manufacturing) to those that also utilize more modern 3D printing technology (additive manufacturing). Together, this network will leverage functions like cloud lifecycle management, on-demand manufacturing, and distributed manufacturing to foster regional growth by attracting and serving customers from outside the Valley. With these collaborative networks and makerspaces in place, Foldio will drive the Valley in the direction of the next industrial revolution.
Now that advanced 3D printing is a viable option in the Rio Grande Valley, we are excited to see what residents create and how it will positively affect our region’s development. To learn more, visit foldio.us.