Not quite Star Trek, but Stratasys brings 3D printing tech to Malaysia: Page 3 of 3
By A. Asohan June 26, 2013
Stratasys’ emerging markets
It is this ‘wow’ factor that Stratasys wants to bring to manufacturers in Asia, with largely the same vertical industries it has already brought on board in Europe and the United States: Automotive, aerospace and defence, the industrial and commercial sector, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), consumer electronics, governments and education.
“We work with designers, manufacturers, organisations and individuals who do innovative work,” says Kei.
“We enable collaboration – designers in different parts of the world can now work on a design and see it manufactured right in front of them so that they can get and give immediate feedback and testing.
“Imagine this kind of collaboration being performed; instead of sending your design to a tool-shop to get the mould done, which could take weeks, you can now do it in a few hours or overnight,” she adds.
The company took part in the MetalTech Asia 2013 trade exposition in Kuala Lumpur last month, where it also officially introduced its three product lines to the local market:
- The Idea Series: Used most often by individual professionals, small design teams and educators, these printers are made for the desktop and will fit easily into any office, classroom or lab, says Stratasys. Concept models can be ready in a matter of hours, making feedback and adjustments easy to execute early in the design process.
- The Design Series: Most often used by teams of engineers, product designers or even students, and even by organisations of all sizes to bring products quickly to market without having to wait for outsourced prototypes.
- The Production Series (pic): Used mostly by manufacturing engineers, universities and large production teams, they are found on factory floors across a range of industries. With the option to print multiple materials, and a large build envelope for printing bigger objects, these printers are used to print jigs, fixtures and tools in a matter of hours, as they are needed, removing the need for inventory.
The company’s strategy for the market here is essentially to inform industries here of what’s happening in the 3D printing world, and create awareness of the possibilities in the technology.
“We have offices and customers all over the world, and we want to leverage the global expertise we have and bring 3D printing knowledge to the local market,” says Kei.
This would also involve conducting training and knowledge transfer with its partners to explain the value of 3D printing; applications-wise, on how to best make use of 3D printing; and when it comes to peculiar uses, what the challenges are and the best way to resolve them.
“We’ve been able to leverage what US and European automotive companies are doing well with 3D printing, and have been sharing their experience with Malaysian automotive companies, for example,” she says.
“We also organise study missions for our customers – we encourage customers to share their experience,” she adds.
Stratasys has five offices in Asia: Two in Japan, two in China (in Shanghai and Hong Kong where it has its regional headquarters), and a small office in India.
“We have no offices in South-East Asia yet, and we rely 100% on our distributors. Currently, our sole distributor in Malaysia is the IME Group of Companies,” she says.
“We see Asia as a very strategic component of the Stratasys business; and in South-East Asia, we see Malaysia as quite a strategic hub, and also do a lot of work in Singapore and Thailand,” she adds.
Malaysia gets a call-out because, in terms of manufacturing capabilities, it is very advanced, with a lot of FMCG companies having R&D centres here.
“Furthermore, a lot of automotive multinationals have set up facilities here, and you also have a domestic automotive industry,” says Kei.
“You may be surprised, but a lot of Malaysian companies are already looking into 3D printing – we already have a lot of customers here,” she adds, declining however to disclose actual figures.
When asked why Stratasys has not opened an office in South-East Asia yet, Kei concedes that this is very much new territory for the company.
“You’ve got to realise that our Japan office was only opened last year,” she says. “It’s very new for us, which is why it’s very exciting – we see a very high-demand and high-growth market for us in this region.”
“We do see a very high potential here in Malaysia, and perhaps we will have an office here down the road – 3D printing is evolving as we speak and we’re open to many options; anything is possible.”
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