As the industrial and academic ecosystem changes, the demand for 3D printers in India is rising too. With wide applications in academics, jewelry, industrial prototyping, medicinal implants and prosthetics, 3D printing is quickly becoming both widely available and widely used.
What is 3D printing
3D Printing is the process where liquid molecules, powder or granulated material is solidified and joined to achieve the desired shape and size in three-dimensions. Normally it’s done one layer at a time to make sure the proportions of 3D are maintained.
Wikipedia notes that earlier, the term “3D printing” originally referred to a process that deposits a binder material onto a powder bed with inkjet printer heads layer by layer….. (today it) encompass(es) a wider variety of additive manufacturing techniques. United States and global technical standards use the official term additive manufacturing for this broader sense.”
While, the material and equipment were developed through the eighties, Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute is credited with the invention of fabricating a true 3D plastic model.
One of the most popular applications is Rapid Prototyping, where either a small part of a machine or a scale model is created using 3D Printers.
Indian 3D printing companies
The following list of the top 3D printing companies includes those companies that manufacture and or distribute 3D printers. Most also offer 3-D printing services and some even conduct training programs for 3D printing.
Here is the list of the top 3D printing companies in India:
1. Divide By Zero Technologies
About: They developed their first 3D printer for internal use in May 2013 – and by August the same year, they received their first order for print service. Today, their client list has impressive names: Eicher, Saint Gobain, Hawkins, Mahindra, TVS… Their printers are classified as Desktop, Professional and Industrial, based on capacity, size, specifications and so on. They develop their printers based on their in-house developed and patented AFPM (Advanced Fusion Plastic Modeling) technology.
1. World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME) SME Excellence Award 2017
2. India Design Mark Award 2017 by India Design Council
3. 3D Printing World Award
4. IPF Industrial Excellence Award
Website: Divide By Zero
About: Imaginarium India Pvt Ltd dubs itself India’s largest 3D printing company. And that doesn’t sound like an exaggeration, given that it has 20 Industrial 3D printers you can choose from. They pride themselves in the fact that product impacts medicine, engineering, jewelery and what not.
With facility that includes SLA, SLS, VC, CNC, Injection Molding and Scanning, they just need a CAD design to convert an idea into a prototype reality.
They offer 140 different materials to work with. Currently, they churn out about 1,600 3D printed items and use up an approximate 150 kg (about 330 lb) metal cast every month.
They have added Imaginarium Precious, an arm that serves the jewellery segment. It accepts your designs online and once the order is ready, the items are shipped to you. Currently, Imaginarium Precious offers product runs in the range of 10-1,000.
Currently, Imaginarium offers shipping only within India.
Website review: The design is close to minimalist and the color combination of the website is light, but that also makes it slightly difficult to read.
Case studies and pages showing details of quality would have further helped them instill more confidence if they are serious about getting orders online.
Their FAQ section is pretty detailed and also covers the basics of Intellectual Property Rights.
About: Their recently launched Brahma 3 Anvil is a versatile beast for 3D printing. It has a high resolution – upto 100 microns per layer – and works on LCD as well as with a computer. It supports a large variety of material including ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PLA (Polylactic acid, which is biodegradable). In case you forgot, PLA is a popular bio-plastic used in medical implants as well as for cups.
Brahma3 Anvil can print objects as large as 240mm x 240mm x 240mm. That’s about the size of a football!
Website review: The website is tiny when it comes to images and content. Without additional content, it’s difficult to understand more about them.
4. JGroup Robotics
About:Apart from offering 3D printers, JGgroup Robotics also offers printing services, 3D printing material and 3D printed products. Of the many printing methods available, its printers rely on Fused Deposition Modeling (popularly called FDM). This technology uses thermoplastic filament that are heated and extruded. Each of these ultimately create a three dimensional object. They also offer online courses.
Website: JGroup Robotics
5. Stratasys India
About: Launched in April 2015, Stratasys 3D Printing Experience center is the the Indian arm of Stratasys global. It features both FDM and Polyjet technologies. According to the company websites, the Centre “exhibits Stratasys’ comprehensive range of 3D printing materials – PolyJet photopolymers and FDM thermoplastics.” Their objective is to help test new products and design finished products.
Website: Stratasys Global
About: Altem Technologies Pvt Ltd, head-quartered in Bangalore, uses Dassault Systems’ 3D Experience Platform to provide cutting edge solutions, mainly ENOVIA, CATIO, and DELMIA. Recipients of the Frost & Sullivan 2017 Award for innovation in 3D printing, Altem boasts of clientele in sectors as diverse as ng automobile, architecture, aerospace, defense, medical, consumer durable, electronics and so on.
Founded in 2010, Altem recently joined hands with ARTEC3D to sell 3D Scanners.
About: Founded in 2014, Novabeans today has offices in Gurgaon, Delhi and Paris, in addition to over 10 resellers and franchisees across India. They are currently authorized resellers of brands like Littlebits, Ultimaker, LeapFrog, ColorFabb and so on. Novabeans runs a special program to provide 3D printers for schools, under its Novabeans 3D Printing for Education Program.
It runs e-Studios that caters to professionals and creative people who’d like to build models for courses, workshops etc.
About: Since the company is headquartered in Singapore, in this list Think3D will classify as a multinational with Indian presence. Founded by BITS graduates, Think3D also sells 3D Scanners and 3D Filaments in addition to 3D Printers, both desktop and industrial. It also offers customized training programs for schools selected for Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). Its client list appears to be the largest among all companies in this list, from Microsoft, Shell and Pepsico to Indian Navy and ISRO.
Use of 3D printing technology worldwide
Globally, one of the best ways this technology is used is when companies require certain parts or items in very small numbers. Besides that, bespoke manufacturing is fast becoming popular. A good example of bespoke manufacturing would be printing a box with a commercial logo.
Forbes reported 7 real-life examples of how 3D priting is actually used. The two most significant uses were printing for prosthetic purpose (human body parts) and low-cost, small houses, though the latter is rather in an testing stage. It also said you could actually print musical instruments of your choice if you had the right design.
In terms of business opportunity, freelancers are creating and selling designs. online If you’re looking to get, say, a figuring based on your pet dog, you hire a freelancer online. She’ll design the model and email the design to you. You print out the model!
One can safely say there is a wide range of business applications for 3D printing and what we’re seeing today may only be a fraction.
A few lines on how 3D printers work
There are different types of 3D printing technologies out there. However, a few things are common across their working.
First you create a 3D model in your computer, using a 3D modeling software. Alternatively, you can use a 3D scanner to create that model. As of now, 3D scanners that really produce results are expensive.
After that, the printer can take over and produce the object you wanted.
One important thing to note is the 3D modeling software is popularly made to suit a particular industry. Consequently, we have seen a rise in software as well that focus on specific segments and industries.