[Interview] Zhai Lianzi, General Manager of Stratasys China: This year, the growth rate of the automotive and consumer electronics fields is very obvious
“3D Printing World” News/At the beginning of 2017, Ms. Zhai Lianzi, general manager of Stratasys China, proposed three strategies based on the characteristics of the Chinese market: grasping the leading customers in the vertical market, providing a complete set of solutions, and attaching importance to 3D printing services. From October 24 to October 27, Stratasys’ annual user conference was held in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen successively. Stratasys executives explained the development trend of 3D printing and the new strategy of the Chinese market at this conference. Professionals in aerospace, automotive, electronics, software and other fields share new ideas for 3D printing applications.
“3D Printing World” also had the honor to interview Ms. Zhai Lianzi at Stratasys’ Shenzhen User Conference. In this year, how effective was the implementation of Stratasys’s three strategies for the Chinese market? What new solutions and new products will be introduced? Ms. Zhai Lianzi, General Manager of Stratasys China, gave a speech “3D Printing World” at the Shenzhen User Conference: Recently, Stratasys held the 3D printing summit forum and Stratasys’ annual user conference in three domestic first-tier cities in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. What kind of message does Stratasys want to convey to the industry this year?
Zhai Lianzi: At this user conference, we shared Stratasys’ views on the development trend of the 3D printing industry. We have seen such a trend: 3D printing is rapidly moving from prototyping to manufacturing. There are many challenges at this time, including printing cost, speed, size, repeatability, etc., as well as software adaptation. Sex and flexibility, once 3D printing is used as a mass production method, these will become key considerations. We have more than 20,000 customers worldwide and more than 3,000 customers in China. We hope to work with customers from the demand side to try new products and cases to meet these challenges, so as to promote the development of front-end technology, equipment, materials, and software. develop.
“3D Printing World”: As you just mentioned, a key challenge is the issue of cost. What measures does Stratasys have to reduce the cost of 3D printing?
Zhai Lianzi: Many of our customers are discussing the cost of materials. Obviously everyone is very concerned about it, because unlike printing equipment, which is a one-time investment cost, materials need to be continuously and long-term invested.
At this user conference, we introduced two materials for PolyJet jet technology, mainly to meet the needs of conceptual prototype manufacturing on the market. Its price has dropped by 50% on the basis of the price of similar materials, while maintaining high performance.
At present, 3D printing can be used in many applications, but because of the high material cost, customers feel that it is better to use traditional processing methods. Therefore, Stratasys has introduced more cost-effective materials to encourage customers to try 3D more on the design side prototype manufacturing. Print.
“The two managers of a major global electronics manufacturer told me during the coffee break that the introduction of these two materials is a very good thing for them. In fact, 3D printing has many applications in the factory, that is, Because the materials are expensive, there are still many traditional processing methods, because the cost of 3D printing does not have obvious advantages. If the materials are more suitable, many of them will use 3D printing.”
“3D Printing World”: In addition to the electronics field, what other fields of customers will participate in this user conference?
Zhai Lianzi: There are four vertical areas in our strategy: aviation, medical care, automobiles, and consumer electronics. Among them, consumer electronics is the only one specifically targeting the Chinese market and not an application area in the Stratasys global market strategy, because China is a A huge consumer electronics producer is very important to us.
In addition to the above four major areas, it is worth mentioning that there are customers in the toy field. For example, Jetta Toys ranks very high in the global toy market. 3D printing is used extensively in conceptual design, and toy prototypes are printed directly with color printers. . In addition, Laxton (Leiden Electronic Technology Company) has used 3D printing for its own R&D design a long time ago. “3D Printing World”: Stratasys implements three major strategies for the Chinese market: grasping the leading customers in the vertical market, providing a complete set of solutions, and attaching importance to 3D printing services. What is the effect of the implementation in the market in one year? Zhai Lianzi: Since the implementation of the three major strategies at the beginning of this year, first of all, we have seen very good performance growth in the vertical market. According to the quarterly accounting revenue, it is obvious that the revenue of these industries (aerospace, medical, automotive, consumer electronics) has increased significantly, especially automotive and consumer electronics. In addition, aviation is still in its infancy, and medical care is the most important. Started.
We have set up a dedicated industry manager to develop some industry applications with our customers. For example, we worked with a famous manufacturer to do fixtures on the car assembly line, such as sunroof calibration; and we cooperated with China Eastern Airlines and COMAC to directly 3D print final parts, such as aviation interior panels.
At this customer conference, we released a 3D printer Fortus900 aerospace interior version specially tailored for aerospace. The aerospace industry has a very strict standard system. Our Fortus900AI has passed the certification of the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, and there is a complete set of process documents to teach customers how to pass the certification of printed things. Secondly, the printing speed and repeatability of Fortus900AI have been greatly improved. In the past, when things were printed one or several times, there would be some gaps in each batch. It is necessary to ensure that the printed things in each batch are exactly the same. It is a big problem for additive manufacturing, especially in the aerospace industry, where repeatability is a very important point. Therefore, Fortus900AI has a great improvement in hardware.
By focusing on the layout in these vertical industries, we have achieved very good market results.
Secondly, in the area of printing services, we already have a small batch of services in use. For example, as just mentioned, we have undertaken a printing service from a famous automobile manufacturer, mainly for some special applications of high-end customers in the industry. service. Next month, our new China headquarters office in Shanghai will be put into use, which will contain a customer experience center and a printing service center. Our purpose of providing printing services is not to make money, but to improve customer adhesion, and also to develop applications from the perspective of the client.
In addition, Stratasys has changed from simply selling equipment and materials a few years ago to providing a complete set of solutions. Customers need to give a lot of suggestions from the design end. The concept of 3D printing is to optimize and redesign the original traditional processing technology, which is a big difficulty. And what kind of technology and materials can best meet the mechanical and chemical properties of the parts. So it is not simply buying a machine to print it out, but a complete set of system solutions.
“3D Printing World”: Based on the three major strategies, what new market actions will Stratasys have next year?
Zhai Lianzi: These three strategies started last year and should continue to be carried out in the next few years. I hope that the scale can be enlarged, and in the process, we can continue to get closer to more users.
On this basis, we have something to come out. We will launch a new WeChat service platform next month.
WeChat is the most widely used social tool in China, which is also specially launched by us for Chinese customers. In previous interviews, I said that one of the characteristics of Chinese customers is that they can afford equipment, but they don’t use much. The first is that the basic level is not perfect and the high value-added applications are not very familiar; the second is the cost of materials. The problem. Therefore, we have adjusted the price of materials. In addition, how to provide support to customers in the application, so that they can use, the brand-new WeChat service platform can play a good role in the later service.
In the past, we had 400 calls, and we could call for consultation, such as problems such as the machine malfunctioned, the materials were not selected correctly, and the print head was clogged. However, now that wechat is available, it becomes very convenient. Customers can know what is wrong by sending a faulty picture. We send a video of the operation directly to the customer, and the customer can guide the solution at a glance. In addition, WeChat can also use a camera, you can see the links of the customer’s on-site operation, and the site can be resolved in real time. This is only available in China, not elsewhere.
“3D Printing World”: In addition to the two new materials you mentioned above, the Fortus900AI machine, the new printing service center and the WeChat service platform, what new products will Stratasys launch?
Zhai Lianzi: This year we will also launch a relatively heavyweight new product-Voxel software, three-dimensional voxel-level printing, it can be said to be the most advanced software, applied to the J750 full-color printer we launched last year. Printing colors will be more realistic, designers can freely design based on this software, and then form some of their own unique digital materials, which brings many possibilities to applications such as design and creativity. This year we also launched a material specifically for glasses prototype development, called VeroFlex, which is also a material for PolyJet technology. The update speed of glasses is very fast. If the iteration is slow, the competitiveness will decrease. Therefore, the design cycle and the speed of new product launches are a very critical competitive element for glasses companies. After the designer develops the glasses, he can quickly print out the prototype using VeroFlex material, so that he can directly see the appearance, color, transparency or opacity of the glasses, touch and so on. In addition, it can also meet many functional tests. The previous materials can only be seen but not tested. Now this material can be used for many functional tests. It can be launched to the market now, and we also hope to focus on launching it in China, because China has huge market demand.
“3D Printing World”: What do you think of the development prospects of this industrial FDM technology?
Zhai Lianzi: I think FDM technology is a very good technology that can enter the final production field as a production tool, because it uses engineering materials. Compared with other 3D printing technologies, it is capable of strength and mechanical properties. Better meet the demand for materials. Therefore, if FDM technology gradually develops later, some areas that need to be improved are: speed, because FDM prints one by one, there should still be a lot of room for improvement in speed; the diversity of materials, including the engineering materials we launched today, has one It is a material of nylon 12 plus carbon fiber. It can replace a lot of metal parts in terms of strength and toughness, so its material development also has a very large space. However, other printing technologies are still incomparable with FDM technology in terms of material mechanical properties, so it is a very good technology that can be directly used in manufacturing in the future to directly manufacture parts.
“3D Printing World”: Can you make a prediction about the company’s performance this year?
Zhai Lianzi: We did a good job this year. Compared with last year, there is still a steady growth in performance. In addition, we see strong growth in industry customers. I think this is also because the aerospace, automotive, medical, and consumer electronics industries originally have relatively high acceptance and maturity for 3D printing applications. In addition, I think the industry leaders’ industry customers’ role in demonstrating the industry is still very obvious, so we will continue to focus on these vertical industries, especially some development applications and support in these leading industries. I think this is very necessary in China.
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