Meet Martin Back – Forward AM’s new Managing Director

  1. What excites you about becoming Managing Director of Forward AM?

I am excited to write a new chapter with Forward AM. Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an increasingly important manufacturing technology that offers opportunities for innovation and change across different industries.

While working in industrial companies, I witnessed their challenges and pain. Many questions arose: “How can we lower our costs?”, “How can we adapt to change and grow in the process?”, “Who are the strong partners who can help us in this time of change?”

I now see solutions and opportunities to answer these questions with Forward AM. As the biggest independent complete portfolio provider for AM materials and services, we will lead the way, break new ground with our industry partners, and create a significant impact.

Forward AM is the ideal ally for a strong partnership, and this is what the industry needs to successfully implement AM applications.

  1. What are your main priorities for your first weeks at Forward AM?

I’m spending time meeting the team, different departments and our customers. I had great meetings and exchanges with our different business lines:  Powder Bed Fusion, Filaments, Photopolymers, and Services, and other essential company departments. It’s a learning and listening process. The goal of the exchange with the different departments, customers, and partners is to get a deeper understanding so that we can tie together strategic partnerships that benefit all parties.

  1. What potential do you see in Additive Manufacturing?

The generic advantages of Additive Manufacturing are widely known. Terms like freedom of design, digital design integration, fast time to part, reduced raw material, and others are often used to describe 3D printing. And although Additive Manufacturing brings many benefits, we see a slow adoption of 3D printing in most industries due to cultural, educational, and process constraints. Overpromising goals and bold announcements have led to disappointment and underachievement. As a company in the Additive Manufacturing industry, we see the chance to work closely with partners to overcome these hurdles and unlock these chains providing complete solutions to the industry in a realistic manner.

Material properties adapted to processing and application needs play a crucial role in a successful application, as seen in the past M&A activities in the industry. Here, we want to provide our contribution by offering the best materials and services to the industries to unleash the full potential of Additive Manufacturing.

  1. What is your vision for Forward AM?

We are the only big, independent company to provide a complete portfolio of Additive Manufacturing materials and application technologies. As a material provider, our DNA is shaped by the collaboration of process and application partners. Big players who tried to make it on their own in the past have often failed. Our vision is to flourish with tightly knitted strategic partnerships and agile projects to create better applications and processes, overcome existing boundaries and establish Additive Manufacturing as a relevant industrial manufacturing process. We want to strengthen and intensify existing and future collaboration with strategic partners.

  1. Which 3D Application fascinated you the most?

Applications that have a significant, maybe even life-changing, impact on people’s daily life fascinate me, for example, orthosis and prostheses for people even in remote and less developed regions which help them in their everyday lives. I also find jigs and fixtures endlessly interesting. I consider them a strategic element for the industry to enable fast adaption to market needs or potentials. Creating jigs and fixtures on demand allows for fast learning in manufacturing processes to shorten SOP, reduce cycle times and costs per part, speed up changeovers, and adapt manufacturing lines to new portfolio mix situations.

It is fascinating to think that, while we have seen so many creative and innovative 3D printing applications already, the number of possible Additive Manufacturing applications is as unlimited as creativity itself. There is room for many more applications to be uncovered. Therefore, we have initiated the annual Forward AM Innovation Award where we invite 3D printing startups to apply with their visions and projects. Our jury of industry leaders then selects start-ups for the semi-finals and the final, which will happen in Barcelona this year. The Innovation Award is an excellent opportunity to present the application on a broader stage and connect with big players within the 3D printing industry. And for us to support bold new visions to become new applications.

  1. What 3D printed application do you have at home?

I love my 3D printed coffee table with its impressive and unique design, which is a regular eye-catcher for friends and family. My son loves his 3D printed Ninjago helmet, and we also have a 3D printed spare part for our dishwasher.

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