The Faces of Additive Manufacturing: Gil Lavi
After Avi Reichental and Hanan Gothait, we continue our series on additive manufacturing personalities with Gil Lavi. This industry pioneer began his career in the 2000s, working for the manufacturer Objet Geometries (now Stratasys) before embarking on his own entrepreneurial adventure. How has Gil coped with the rapid changes in the market in recent years? What opportunities and challenges still exist in the market? 3Dnatives went to meet him to find out more.
3DN: Could you tell our readers about your previous experience in AM?
I joined the industry 13 years ago when starting at Objet Geometries when it was a unique startup in the landscape of the industry. At that time, there were no more than a dozen 3D printing companies in the industry, so it was a time of believing in a great vision. I spent 10 years in the company including three years after the merger with Stratasys, building and managing the company’s sales partners in Europe, and later on the company’s EMEA strategic accounts. In 2015, I left the company, looking for innovative startup companies to help them build their go-to-market strategy and deploy their global channel networks.
3DN: What about your current work in the AM industry?
Over the years, I met many 3D printing resellers that were looking for promising products to sell but had limited resources to filter down and choose the right products. On the other hand, I met dozens of 3D printing startup companies that were looking to build their global channel networks, but were lacking the experience and the reach to professional sales partners.
So at Formnext 2018, I founded 3D Alliances which is a consulting company that fills this exact gap. We form business alliances with top Hardware and Software 3D printing companies to help them deploy and manage their global channel network. As of today, there are three unique companies in our portfolio – XJET3D from Israel with it’s amazing NanoParticle Jetting™ technology of Metal and Ceramic ; Essentium3D from Texas, USA, the developer of the world’s fastest extrusion platforms, and ParaMatters from California, USA which is part of XponentialWorks Innovation Lab, the developer of one of the most powerful topology optimization software in the industry. All are promising and well-funded companies offering unique solutions. We look forward signing up new business alliances agreements in the coming months.
As of today, we managed to build a network of over 1,200 active 3D printing/AM resellers from 72 countries, which is in fact the largest one in the industry. We utilize this network to find and recruit the right sales partners for each companies we work with.
On top of this activity we just recently launched a new service for 3D printing resellers – overview reports on interesting startup companies in the industry. These reports include information that help resellers meet new companies and evaluate their products
3DN: How has the industry changed over the years?
There were many changes in the past 13 years, but I think the most significant ones were the following three:
(1) the amount of 3D printing companies significantly grew due to patents expirations, new investments and the arrival of a new generation of entrepreneurs
(2) The new vision of the industry is based on the idea of implementing 3D-Printing technologies in manufacturing rather than just prototyping
(3) One of the most important changes – 3D printing has been recognize as a revolution in the way things are going to be made.
This is why we see variety of industries developing ground breaking solutions to print/manufacture food, body parts, houses, circuit boards, furniture, fashion items and more. I have no doubt we shall see in the coming years the acceleration of more special developments.
3DN: What has caught your eye in the last few months ?
What caught my eye is not one specific company or technology, but more the understanding what should be the synergy between the variety of industrial hardware and software solutions, and why it’s important to tailor them together under one eco-system in the future. I see three main types of complimentary solutions – Software such as generative design, data security, workflow management etc… The second is the output i.e different types of 3D printing technologies breaking the barriers of speed, variety of materials and strength. The last one is post processing which will become more essential as printing speed increases and with it the amount of printed parts, mostly end-use parts.
If you look at it from the side of heavy industrial users, they will be looking to implement a complete end-to-end solution that includes all necessary elements of the workflow, from design to final end use parts, with no major bottle necks in the process.
3DN: What are the remaining challenges to the global adoption of AM ?
At this point in time, it seems there are many 3D printing technologies/solutions in the industry that has the potential to revolutionize the way things are made. However, in many cases there are still gaps between what the technologies can do, to truly implementing them in complete standard manufacturing process.
Besides performance gaps that includes speed, strength and variety of materials, I think one of the main challenges will be automation. To truly revolutionize manufacturing, you will need smooth and automatic solutions with minimum labor intervention, starting from design, though out printing and post processing, when the final result is a final end use part. Even though you can find great solutions in the industry today, most of them are still separate from each other. Tailoring them under one eco-system will be the key to increase the adoption across many industries.
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