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Make in India will boost 3D printing technology

Make in India will boost 3D printing technology

The 3D printing industry is currently valued at USD 12 to 14 million. A recent research report estimated the 3D printing market in India to reach USD 79 million by 2021. APF got in touch with Prasad Rodagi, Founder Director, Altem Technologies to find out more. Excerpts…

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When was 3D Printing Technology introduced in India?

3D printing has been around for years and was formerly known as “Rapid prototyping”. The primary change was the manner in which this was made accessible to a wide variety of industries at lower costs.

India is at a nascent stage in the 3D printing revolution. Recently in 2005-06, the sale of one 3D printer was a reason for celebration for the entire national team of a company. Today, the industry sees an average of 15-20 printers in a quarter, which gives an indication of the growth and popularity of this technology.

What is the current position of 3D Printing Technology in India?

A recent research report estimated the 3D printing market in India to reach USD 79 million by 2021. Currently, the industry is valued at USD 12 to USD 14 million. We believe that the ‘Make in India’ campaign will provide a massive boost to 3D printing technology in India. Consumer consumption is a crucial factor driving people towards this technology.

India has one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. Disposable incomes are on the rise, people are growing increasingly brand and quality conscious, hence, they are constantly demanding newer and better quality products. This means that all brands need to stay on their toes to match the demand. There is incredible pressure on the product innovation teams to constantly deliver quality products on time.

This is where 3D Printing is most helpful – the design and development stage leading to functional testing with prototyped parts. With the help of CAD / CAM software, it is easy to design / change the design of a particular product. Instead of creating manufacturing mould to test the products (which can take days), we can 3D print the design in a matter of hours and test it. The time required for the testing process could be reduced by almost 70 percent!

We can also see the use of 3D Printing technology in validating the safety of a vehicle. For instance, the Indian government introduced a law that stipulates mandatory safety certification of all buses before manufacturing. More important, each vehicle needs to be safety certified.

This can be done easily with the combination of MSC Software, which is CAE software (Analysis) and 3D scanners. It can be run through various simulations and any required part can be scanned through 3D scanners to get the specific physical dimensions. Once scanned, the part can then be tested in virtual digital environment for initial tests and then finally validated by 3D physical parts. These are only some examples of the current use. We are sure that as the technology develops further, the automotive industry and other industries would adopt this technology on a bigger scale.

Which parts are you manufacturing with this tech?

The answer to that would be an entire car. Or bus. Or bike. Or a cycle. The advances in technology means we can literally 3D print an entire functional vehicle, or at least most parts out of it.

We worked with a group of students in Kochi, Kerala, who 3D printed various crucial parts for their Formula SAE car.

Which companies are asking for products based on this technology? Who are your clients?

India’s 3D printer market is driven by commercial, and government owned companies. The major applications are electronics, automotive, medical, industrial, architectural, and aerospace. Education institutes and universities are early adapters of the technology and continue to use them even today.

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