Stratasys has been spearheading the automotive industry with innovative 3D Printing technologies. What are your latest technology solutions that will continue to give you an edge over competitors and how?
Stratasys is a 30-year legacy pioneer in 3D Printing, and we have been leading conversations in the industry with our primary technologies, i.e. Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and Polyjet. From automotive to aerospace to medical and other fields, these technologies are universally applicable. Lately, keeping in mind the requirements of the industry and what customers expect from 3D Printing, we have invested in a technology called high-speed sintering. In addition to our existing portfolio, this is a new technology that we will be offering to our customers.
How is Stratasys working towards ensuring availability of better capabilities to automotive manufacturers in the areas of product realism and product performance? How about skill upgradation in this area?
Product realism & product performance are two distinct fields – both equally important. In product realism, designers try to achieve the complete function, look and colour in the ideation stage. Our 3D printers achieve complete product realism because of technologies like pantone matching. In terms of product performance, there are a lot of parameters that need to be considered, such as, the manufacturing methodology, approach chosen for designing, etc. We try to deliver final products that are superior in quality and in line with the benchmarks that companies expect. With respect to upskilling, we have our machines installed in most IITs, NITs and private engineering colleges, which are being used for various projects, helping students learn traditional manufacturing along with technologies like AM, thereby preparing them for the industry. Last year, we also signed up with NTTF, Bangalore, to launch India’s first additive manufacturing certification course. This training programme is designed to help students to learn new technologies in 3D Printing and make them future industry ready.
3D Printing technologies have been lacking in producing the required colour and transparency to mimic the final product. What measures are adopted by your company to overcome this problem?
Stratasys is the only 3D Printing company which is pantone certified. As a result, we can match the requirements of companies like Audi for their tail lamp manufacturing and also that of many consumer goods companies that we work with; ensuring that 3D Printing is an integral part of their design process.
India is still picking up pace in adopting 3D Printing, AM and other such technologies. Where do you think India is falling back and what steps can be undertaken to accelerate the adoption?
Comparative studies reveal that in Asia, the adoption of 3D Printing in India stands at 3 per cent compared to China (35 per cent) and Japan (30 per cent). It essentially means – there is a lot of scope for Indian manufacturers to adopt leading technologies that have been implemented worldwide in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, etc. and give products an edge in terms of global competitiveness. The earliest areas of adoption of 3D Printing is in the design departments of products that are being developed, and in some of the manufacturing applications where one aims to replicate the jigs-fixtures & quality parameters with 3D Printing.
What is the growth potential for Stratasys in India in the near future, according to you?
As I mentioned, India is still an under-penetrated geography in terms of technology adoption. If you look at global automotive companies, their adoption levels of similar technologies are much higher when compared to Indian companies who stil use only a select set of available technologies. Taking into consideration the growth trajectory of the industry, despite the slowdown that the country is facing, we believe that there will be high double-digit growth in countries like India and South-East Asia in the coming years.