Stratasys leading the next industrial revolution with 3D printing

stratasyslogo1The merger between Stratasys and Objet is now complete. The new company, Stratasys Ltd., appears to be well positioned and ready to not only continue supporting the current combined 3D printing product lines, but also to move forward with new innovations.

If you have not read the blogs of Chairman of the Board Scott Crump and new CEO David Reis, they are reprinted here.

I, for one, am particularly excited to see how Mr. Crump will “reinvent 3D printing,” and to see how Mr. Reis moves Stratasys beyond prototyping and into the realm of Direct Digital Manufacturing.

A New Chapter and My New Role at Stratasys, Scott Crump

In the 1980s while running a former company I co-founded with my wife, Lisa, I was frustrated with the long lead times needed for prototypes of new product designs, which pushed our time-to-market out. This frustration was the impetus to create the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process and my first additive manufacturing system. The invention of FDM Technology led to the formation of Stratasys 25 years ago. Since this time, I’ve served as Chairman and CEO and have overseen Stratasys growth into one of the leading companies in the 3D printing market. During this period I have been personally involved with numerous innovations, such as the Breakaway Support System (BASS), the Soluble Support System, the Dimension: the first bench-top 3D printer, and the recently released, Mojo 3D Printer.

Last April, we announced our intent to merge with Objet, and in December, our companies officially closed the merger. Combined revenues of the two independent companies in 2011 equaled $277 million, which puts us at the top of the 3D printing industry. The purpose of the merger is to accelerate the development of new technology for faster growth and expand our ability to serve customers. It was not done as a measure to reduce operational costs. David Reis, former CEO of Objet, is now CEO of the new entity, Stratasys Ltd. David has an impressive track record at Objet and decades of experience in the industry, having previously held positions at NUR Macroprinters, ImageID and Scitex Vision. He will be ably assisted by Erez Simha, our CFO, as well as COO of Israeli operations, and Tom Stenoien, COO of North American operations. Stratasys Ltd. has a solid leadership/management team, and I have tremendous confidence in it. I am also looking forward to working with Objet founder and previous Chairman Elan Jaglom and learning from his enormous business experience. Elan moves into a position as Chairman of Stratasys Ltd’s executive committee.

Meanwhile, I am moving on to a new role as the fulltime Chairman of the Board, and in addition, I will head up global innovation for the company. As CEO, I had less time to devote to product innovation, which has always been near and dear to me. As head of innovation, I will devote attention to developing the next generation of technology and will be the company’s champion for new development. I don’t mean just advancements in FDM and Inkjet-based technologies, but the next technology too. One of my goals is to reinvent 3D printing all over again, and have a whole lot of fun.

I also intend to focus attention on the next generation of direct digital manufacturing (DDM) technology that will promote the technology as a mainstream process. DDM involves producing parts for sellable products, replacement parts and custom manufacturing tools, and it will play a big role in the future of global manufacturing. Beyond developing new technology, we will of course continue to increase the capabilities of existing ones, while driving down the cost of our 3D printers.

Based on my early frustrations seeking prototypes, it has become a personal and rewarding mission for me to drive 3D printing innovation that helps engineers produce new products. I relish the challenge of creating a new solution where previously there was nothing. This challenge will continue to energize me and the Stratasys innovation process as we move into a new chapter in the Stratasys story.

 

From This Day, Forward

Stratasys CEO David Reis

3D technology is all around us. It’s changing how we design and manufacture products, make movies, heal our bodies and interact with the world. Work that used to take place on a page or screen now reaches into space. And faster than ever before, 3D technology is transforming our world.

Designers led the way in embracing 3D CAD and then 3D printing, incorporating more and more physical models into their iterations and thinking with their heads and their hands. And they’ve reaped the benefits: Design problems surface sooner and design solutions are less costly. Inspiration happens faster. Ultimately, products are better and consumers are happier. Black & Decker makes a safer tree trimmer and Lamborghini makes a faster car because reviews and trials are more frequently executed on models very much resembling a final product.

Now, 3D printing applications are expanding from design into production, and freeing manufacturers to build without traditional restrictions. DDM stands for direct digital manufacturing, a way to produce a finished product, part or tool straight from a computer design. More importantly, DDM means the rewards of faster, leaner, smarter methods are coming to the production floor. When we at Stratasys (and publications like The Economist, Forbes and The New York Times) call 3D printing “the next industrial revolution,” we’re not exaggerating.

A hundred years ago, the assembly line changed the world with mass production. It brought luxuries to the middle class, good wages to workers and economies of scale to investors. Today, companies like BMW already know that DDM is mass production’s heir apparent. One factory-floor fixture, a nameplate-application device, offers an elegant example. Liberated from tooling constraints, BMW engineers reduced the device’s weight by half and replaced its blocky stock-metal handles with ergonomic grips — a great relief to workers who might lift the fixture hundreds of times per shift.

Today, NASA can shape a complex, human-supporting vehicle suitable for Martian terrain, despite the fact that its parts are too complex to machine, too rapidly iterated to outsource and too customized for traditional tooling. In a 3D world, we leave behind injection molding, casting and machining, gaining economy without the scale. 3D printing leads us beyond mass production and into mass customization.

It’s how a researcher at a Delaware hospital creates a durable ABS plastic exoskeleton customized to perfectly fit one child, Emma, allowing her to play, explore and hug for the first time. Then that researcher can make a 3D-printed exoskeleton to fit a different child. And another. And a dozen more. Now 15 children with rare disorders can raise their hands because of mass customization. Ideas born today — your ideas — are freer to solve problems faster than ever before. A few weeks ago, two innovators who helped spark this revolution fused to lead the charge together, and more great changes are at hand.

Welcome to the new Stratasys, leader of the next industrial revolution.

 

Leslie Langnau
llangnau@wtwhmedia.com

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