Advanced 3-D printing operation grows worldwide from Humboldt

Oct. 24, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by the Minnehaha County Economic Development Association.

A startup using a new and unique technology has found a growing home base in Humboldt.

Primary Manufacturing launched there in 2017, making small plastic parts using an emerging technology called
Digital Light Synthesis, or DLS technology, enabled by a proprietary process called CLIP. That stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production.

Think of it as a more advanced form of 3-D printing that can be used to create end-use products and prototypes of all kinds.

Owner Ladd McCluskey shares more about how his business is evolving.

How do you describe what you do for those who aren’t familiar with it?

At Primary, we take the inventor or engineer’s designs and turn them into parts that can be used in the real world.  Our plastics range from very soft rubber-like material to very strong epoxy-like material. We have impact-resistant plastics as well as plastics that can withstand 500 degrees Fahrenheit. We use programmable resins to build injection-molded, quality, consumer-ready parts. We work with companies in a variety of industries such as aviation, medical device, toys, agriculture, construction and universities. Normally, it would take six months and tens of thousands of dollars to build molds and make production-ready parts. At Primary, we can build production-ready parts in a matter of days. This allows our customers to go from design through multiple redesign iterations to a final product in a matter of weeks.

How did you get involved with this industry in the first place? And how unique is your niche?

I followed 3-D printing for many years as an engineer but didn’t see a real-world application other than prototyping. Once I heard about and saw the Carbon machines and materials and what they could do, I was hooked.  This is the future of plastics manufacturing.

There are currently a handful of companies similar to ours in the U.S. and Europe using this technology. Most are 3-D printing service bureaus that have several other types of 3-D printers. Primary is the first company to use only Carbon machines and materials. This focus has allowed us to become experts in this technology. Many of the processes we have developed at Primary have never been done anywhere else.

How diverse is your client base? Do you work with businesses from outside this area?

Our customer base is very diverse. We have customers in aviation, agriculture, automotive, sporting goods, electronics, medical device and toys to name a few. We have shipped parts locally and all across the United States as well as Europe and Asia.

What made you decide to locate in Humboldt? If you had to make the decision again, would you?

I have always believed that small South Dakota towns are home to some great people. If given the opportunity to have a good job without driving to the metro areas, people will jump at this chance. Overhead costs are lower, and we have all the business services within easy reach. We have had customer visits from California, New Jersey, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Europe, allowing us to introduce the small-town life in Humboldt, S.D.

What’s next for your business? Where would you like to see it a few years from now?

Primary’s goal is to scale up our business, continue to educate people on the possibilities and provide great jobs in rural South Dakota.

To learn more about Primary Manufacturing, click here.

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Advanced 3-D printing operation grows worldwide from Humboldt

“This is the future of plastics manufacturing.” Meet a high-tech business owner building an international client base from Humboldt.

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