With in-person industry events at a standstill, a new endeavor has launched to enable companies to meet and evaluate industrial 3D printing.
While I love trade shows for the opportunities to catch up with the industry, attending product launches, press conferences, and networking events aplenty, there’s much more to these happenings — like actually making and closing deals. We often encourage our readers to attend 3D printing events, but in 2020 things have changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, whether through personal health or business opportunity. We’ve all had to shift the ways in which we do business, and in so many ways that move has been virtual. Teams are operating remotely, many have now been working at home for months, and some of the biggest manufacturing events have gone digital.
But there’s still nothing quite like actually seeing one another in person — and, more importantly from that business perspective, seeing industrial equipment up close and operationally personal.
In late 2018, 3D printing industry veteran Gil Lavi introduced us to his new endeavor, 3D Alliances, which strives to bring channels together.
The Israel-based company connects thousands of resellers in dozens of countries around the globe as it has continued to expand quickly from its launch. 3D Alliances builds on the importance of relationships, helping to forge the way for companies to quickly establish new connections worldwide.
Much of the benefit of 3D Alliances comes from Lavi and his team’s vast global networks as well as personal contact to truly understand each partner. Lavi has travelled the world to see those in his network, keeping in direct contact with alliance companies.
But currently, such global travel isn’t possible. 3D Alliances has been adapting, for example through integrating augmented reality (AR) support for industrial 3D printing in an alliance announced last month with Fieldbit. That AR support removes the need for an in-person tech to travel to a site to help install or maintain equipment, not only getting around travel restrictions but also empowering these additive manufacturing users to become more familiar with their installed equipment and so increase uptime.
Such adaptive approaches have been starting as a way to work in a brave new world of limited contact — but are also showing long-term benefits for the eventual return of business-as-usual.
But where does this leave us for becoming acquainted with new industrial 3D printing options? A new customer may be starting with something of a blank slate, and as always seeing is believing, so it’s currently quite a hurdle to overcome in figuring out how to find the best-fit additive manufacturing solution.
Enter a new 3D Alliances company, established this month: 3D Evaluate.
Through this new endeavor, Lavi and his team are going virtual with introductions to industrial 3D printing.
Lavi explained the new concept via email:
“I’m happy(!) to introduce to you my new initiative called 3D Evaluate This initiative was born due to the COVID-19 new market conditions – no public events and trade shows for buyers and sellers (OEMs & Resellers) of industrial 3D printers to meet and do business.
The idea is take it online.
In short – it’s an evaluation platform for buyers of industrial 3D printing systems that are looking to find, evaluate and compare products of different vendors. The catch is simple – the comparison is mostly based on comparing 3D printed parts – samples and or benchmarks. This is one of the key elements buyers would like to examine before choosing the right solution/technology for them.”
While in-person may be difficult at present, going hands-on with parts is still possible with this new service.
3D Evaluate currently offers FDM sample kits, as seen above, as well as the option to create the same benchmark part on different FDM technologies. Present FDM options include:
- The miniFactory ULTRA
- Materials supported: PEEK Carbon, ULTEM 9085, PA-CARBON and others.
- The 3ntr SPECTRAL
- Materials supported: PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM 1010, CARBON + and others.
- The INTAMSYS FUNMAT PRO 410
- Materials supported: PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM 1010, Nylon and others.
Samples and benchmarks will soon also be available for industrial SLS, SLA, and metal 3D printing processes.
In addition to benchmarking for potential customers, 3D Evaluate also works with 3D printing OEMS:
“For 3D printing companies, we offer an affordable solution for generating and qualifying sales leads, split by different solution categories,” the website explains.
The new offerings from 3D Evaluate may have been inspired by pandemic conditions that necessitate new ways of doing business, but this is a smart approach that will likely have an impact well after market conditions stabilize. Major 3D printing announcements tend to be timed around major trade shows, but perhaps that won’t always have to be the case if customers and businesses have more options to connect in the future.
Via 3D Evaluate