Additive Manufacturing —  Partnership and Collaboration

(TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — October 30th 2019) Nanofabrica works at the bleeding edge of innovation in the use of additive manufacturing (AM) as a production technology. The company is the first to introduce a commercially viable micro AM solution, meaning that today, OEMs looking to produce small scale parts and components with micron-level resolution have a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.

One thing is for certain, AM is disruptive. It forces OEMs that incorporate it into their manufacturing regimes to rethink the conventional design to manufacturing cycle fundamentally. Issues pertaining to validation, post-processing, material choice etc… all dominate, but to address them, Nanofabrica maintain that the best resource for OEMS to lean on is the AM technology vendor.

To this end, Nanofabrica has at its core the fundamental appreciation of the fact that it works with its customers as a product development partner rather than a company selling plug-and-play technology solutions.

Jon Donner comments, “As AM becomes more and more accepted as a production technology rather than simply a prototyping technology, its comes under a lot more scrutiny. That is why there is a disproportionate emphasis today on standardization and accreditation for AM, and also why there is a lot of work being undertaken to adapt metrology methodologies to work with the manufacture of parts by AM processes. There is some catching up to do before industry has the tools at its disposal to fully automate the production process using AM, but great strides are being made.”

“However, at Nanofabrica we embedded ourselves in this sector for many years as we were developing our micro AM solution, and key among the feedback that we gathered was that there was and still is a prominent requirement for AM platform vendors to enter into true partnerships with their customers. Too often it is seen that vendors supply solutions off the shelf, and post-sale the OEM customers are left to work out for themselves the best use of the technology. Vendors should be aware that to justify the CAPEX involved with adopting an AM solution, they have to be convinced of the ROI, and as vendors we can help with this,” Donner concludes.

Tovit Neizer, VP of Business Development at Nanofabrica continues, “It is vital that as an AM platform provider we are aware that the concept of design for AM (DfAM) is not fully understood by all, and it is here that we can help, and also where customers can get the maximum out of their AM investment. There is a huge amount that can be achieved in terms of product innovation and the efficiency of an AM production process that is driven by effective DfAM, and no-one is better placed to advise on this than the AM platform developer.”

“At Nanofabrica we nurture customer feedback and customer partnership at every stage of our relationship. It is important to get under the skin of a customer application before we advocate the sale of an AM platform, as there will necessarily be a level of customization that is required to the core technology to best fit a specific product or component. Every customer that we have (and will have in the future) has embarked or is about to embark on a product development process involving AM. As such, we adopt the role of a qualified product development partner, bringing our ‘secret sauce’ to the table whenever necessary to ensure optimal outcomes,” Neizer adds.

As the AM sector matures, and as it comes under the spotlight when applied to exacting manufacturing scenarios, there is an industry-wide understanding that the role of AM platform vendors need to change.

Donner comments, “The days when the success of an AM platform vendor is measured simply by the number of units shifted is receding fast. Customers are rightly more demanding these days, and need to know that their move to the use of AM as an alternative or complimentary technology to conventional manufacturing processes is fully supported. The onus is on AM platform vendors to ensure that the platform sold is the best fit for its customer’s specific application. Failure to do so means costly end results for OEMs. As we say at Nanofabrica, ‘If you think good AM solutions are costly, how much more costly are bad ones?’ That is why we will continue at every stage to ensure that the solutions and after sale care we provide are always front and centre in our customer relationships.”

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