3dpbm and 3DCeram discussing about Additive Manufacturing for ceramic !

Mar 10, 21

A (virtual) chat between 3dpbm’s Davide Sher and 3DCeram founder Richard Gaignon

Despite the challenges that 2020 threw in its (and everyone’s) way, ceramic 3D printing pioneer 3DCeram Sinto has persevered and has started 2021 on a high. The company has adapted remarkably well to the changing dynamics of the industry—and business in general—and through it all has remained focused on its key goal: to drive the adoption and industrialization of ceramic additive manufacturing.

We recently had the opportunity to speak to 3DCeram’s CEO Richard Gaignon, who shed light on the company’s current strategy as well as its latest achievements, including new launches and partnerships.

In the interview, Gaignon takes us through 3DCeram’s journey, from its humble beginnings as a part producer to its current role as a key supplier of ceramic AM solutions around the globe. This prominent position has been bolstered as of late, with subsidiaries established in the United States and China, as well as a growing list of international distributors.

Behind the scene...

Here, the complete interview !

DAVIDE SHER : We finally made it thank you for being here  online with me  i'm here with Richard Gaignon   he's the CEO of 3DCeram of course we all  know the company as a pioneer and the leader in    the advanced ceramics 3D printing market so let  me just start right away  with the question   how the company was born and how it became part  of the sinto group and what that means ?

RICHARD GAIGNON : 3DCeram was created in 2009 or really was developed in 2009. Based on the stereolithography technology and at the beginning you know we were making parts so printing parts and the business model changed  in 2015 about and we started to sell the  complete process the complete lines, it  means printers kilns and the know-how to make  it run and we will talk about it later. In 2017 sinto shows interest to us because as you said we are innovative company we are a pioneer company   and we are able to handle and to modify or to produce the paste the machine the software and to make parts so the complete process is in our hand so that's what was very  interesting for Sinto. Now we are SME part of a big group so we have the advantage of the SME the advantage of the big group. We created subsidiary in china in Wuhan we created a subsidiary in wallingford in the U.S and we have a lot a lot of distributors all over the world. We are ready to step into the future and to connect to the future and to see bigger in order to anticipate the growth of the market and that's why   we are currently building a new building facility. 

DAVIDE SHER : Let's bring it today and let's start by looking at current events so how are you adapting to what's going to the current crisis ?  

RICHARD GAIGNON :  At 3DCeram we decided to say okay there is a risk but when there is a risk there is an opportunity  so it's time for us to renew the business model  or the way we address to potential customers.  Our turnover our revenue is mostly over fees we are making more than 90 % outside of France. We change our website in order to be closer to the need of the customer and also we created  inside our website what we call a virtual showroom where customers can see the products we are making and can ask for a live demo. What is a live demo ? it means that customer can request with a meeting with a sales guy and then we show him what's going on at 3DCeram, live, machine working parts cleaning parts going into the kiln and so on so you don't even need to come to limoges. We are also doing some small videos about a 3D printing of ceramic with experts which are from 3DCeram or not and they are talking about that.

DAVIDE SHER : Absolutely  and i totally, i very much understand the concept of moving and we were you know of  course as a digital media we've always been promoting that you know the digital communication  for the industry and i can see how that's happening and obviously the covid  is accelerating maybe this transition but  for a 3D printing company that also has to  sell physical products so like machines and physical parts how is this new situation  affecting the distribution of machines and is digital installation like remote digital  installation something that's actually possible. 

RICHARD GAIGNON :  that's the second part of Covid first part it was to sell equipment the second part was to train people and the third part is to commission the equipment and do after sales and you're right now we do some remote maintenance we are able also to commission the machine not being on site and for this we train our  distributor in order to be aware how to start the  machine and so on, so we qualified some distributor. 

DAVIDE SHER : What is your current your strategy to develop the ceramics 3d printing hardware market which by the way it's obviously it has new challenges now, but it was something challenging even before right  so  what is your strategy to develop this market ?  what do you think you're doing right ?  and what are the main products that you think  are going to be driving this adoption of  advanced ceramic 3D printing ?

RICHARD GAIGNON : it's not only linked to hardware so you have to think globally when we say process provider we have to think about hardware the printers and the kilns we have to think about the software and i will talk about it and we have to talk about the services how to help customers to acquire the know-how to use the equipment and to develop by himself  even further than what we can do or what we  know to do. So the motto of our strategy is   industrialization and for that we have  dedicated printer we have the c100 FAB  for fabrication and the big C3600. I'm not saying that we do not address the technical center  market there is a dedicated machine for that a C100 LAB like laboratory and we have also the hybrid   machine where we can print several material at the same time and the historical machine we call  C900 flex. Now for the software we need to develop software which are user friendly  so that's why we just launched the build-it software and the build-it software is a  way to create the support in one click, to take  into consideration for instance the shrinkage  x y z in one click, to create a protection if  you want to avoid to have deformation during the printing in one click. So something that even me not being a specialist of CAD software  I can use and this is the second step hardware software and services. So that's why we created the 3D-AIM  where, first we want to remove the risk in  the design so it's a study to de-risk the design, then we do second step the prototyping and then  the third step is production. Production could be at customer's office or in our office so different way.

DAVIDE SHER : So you mentioned, and i'm very fascinated by  this and the reason why we are so fascinated  by ceramics is the the  end use material and  the end use applications and the production  applications possibilities of these incredible  materials i mean as a journalist in 3D printing i think it's one of the most fascinating   area and also because we are a new media in 3d  printing we are very interested in production  we understand that prototyping is the core of the  business but we also understand the prototyping    is a consolidated it's been you know we   know everything about prototyping already right   we want to look at production and so my  question obviously is what are the production the  applications the key applications  for ceramics 3d printing in general and the ones  that you think you can target.

RICHARD GAIGNON :  So it means right  now the interest for production is growing , coming, we see a major player in europe major  player in asia in usa who invest in printers.  So one of the most important david most important  market investment casting, cores for investment  casting so we have developed with a partner a  way to showcase that it was possible to use a  3d printing cores to put it in the injection mold  to put the wax around it and then after to cast the alloy so in the middle you may see  the cores that you see in the wax and that's  this core. We've just signed a partnership with  a company who's named Avignon Ceramic with them   we want to go very fast because we are going  to promote a new services whose name is U3DC for cores it means the customer who  want to develop cores, we can now be  much faster because we are working with a core  manufacturer that's very good point. So the second field where you see there is a big interest for 3d printing is biomedical. Biomedical industry  there are so many different products you can make,  you can make teeth you can make skull implant that  we are doing since 2007. You can do intervertebral cages bones substitutes  and so on and so on there are so many different  products and then so we sign another partnership,   with a a very well-known specialist in this  field is helping our customer to get the certifications. So you see we try to develop  everything with internally with partnership  but we do see that aircraft industry space  industry and biomedical are really the leading  market for us and we are really pushing to this  direction.

DAVIDE SHER : Have you seen this kind of growth, really an exponential trend  and do you see accelerating  now ?

RICHARD GAIGNON :  So we are still progressing in terms of  revenue even though there was the COVID crisis    we hope that next year it will be exponential  because we have all this partnership going on   and we bring really more services to customers but  we anticipate a big wave and you know a big demand  and we have to be able to supply the hardware the  software the services. We are ready to step into  the future and to connect to the future and  to see bigger in order to anticipate the growth   of the market.

DAVIDE SHER : thank you very much for the for this and speak again soon !

RICHARD GAIGNON :  thank you David bye 

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