3D Printing Industry
I spoke with the one of Optomec’s directors about how the company is applying 3D printing to mass production, 3D printing electronics, enabling the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and nano-materials such as graphene.
Away from the frenzied noise of press releases about new Kick starters and companies announcing the latest 3D printing “world first” there is a quiet revolution taking place in manufacturing and Albuquerque’s Optomec are well positioned to play a central role.
“The distinction with Optomec is that we have been focused on volume manufacturing and how we bring additive manufacturing to volume production and mass production almost from our outset,” Optomec’s Ken Vartanian tells me. That outset took place in 1997 when David Keicher left Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to join the company. Keicher was working in the laser materials process group at SNL and saw how breakthroughs by the lab might be applied to manufacturing. Optomec were quick to license the SNL technology and began the task of commercialization and growing the company into a viable international business. With a reported 70% increase in revenue in the most recent financial statements and an order book filled for 6 months it looks like the company’s $35 million investment in R&D is paying off. As Dave Ramahi, CEO, puts it, “Our solid growth in 2015 gives evidence that industrial adoption of high volume additive manufacturing is now a reality at leading corporations.”