Exclusive Interview: Imaginarium’s Director, Guruprasad Rao, Discusses His Company & Inside 3D Printing Mumbai
As announced earlier this year, MecklerMedia‘s Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo is coming to India. Inside 3D Printing Mumbai will take place December 3-4, with the first such event in the country. Excitement is building now, as the event is just two weeks away, complete with a 3D Design Contest and even a concert featuring 3D printed instruments.
Guruprasad Rao, Director of Imaginarium India Pvt. Ltd., took the time from his busy schedule to answer some of my questions, filling us at 3DPrint.com in about the history and future of his company, as well as his hopes for the upcoming conference.
Below is the interview in full.
When was Imaginarium founded, and by whom? Where did the idea to form the company come from?
The early leaders – Mr.Dipak Shah, Mr.Manish Mehta and Mr.Kamlesh Parekh – all represented the jewellery and diamond industry, and thus our natural starting point was to use 3D printing to serve the jewellery manufacturing process. It was over several years of experience and exposure that we started serving more and more industries such as Automotive, Heavy Engineering, FMCG, Medical etc. In 2009 we created the identity of “Imaginarium” – a place where your ideas and doodles could come to life. Today Imaginarium has grown into a trusted 3D printing brand in India, being the application expert for this technology across more than 30 industry verticals and with the largest number of industrial machines under one roof.
How do you approach the development process for rapid prototyping activities?
As we know, Prototyping is an inevitable step in new product development as a design validation tool. So, it is very important to know the prototype in its context as seen by the Design Intent. So, typically we try to learn the customer’s need to offer our service. This can be called as co-creation where we learn and teach each other’s needs to arrive at the optimum solution. Problem fully understood is half solved. Other factors are Quantity, Special finishes need for metal inserts etc.
What design software do you use?
Any CAD software that can create 3D models is suitable for designing 3D printable models. We further use specialised tools for model preparation, slicing, repairing faulty designs. There are tools which are exclusively used for medical applications as well – these help in reading MRI and CT scan data and creating 3D models from the same which helps in making anatomical models and patient specific implants.
My first exposure to 3D printing was in 1993, when I came across a 3D printed jewellery prototype from the Basel Fair. Those were the early days of this technology, and the parts were extremely raw and unfinished. Who would’ve guessed where this technology has reached today!
Again at my Alma Mater, IISc Bangalore in 2000, I was entrusted by my Design school chairman to take care of the newly acquired FDM machine,“Prodigy”. That was my first hands on experience on a 3D printer. I worked on it for next 3 years doing everything from file fixing, orientation, slicing, build, cleaning and maintenance! It gave me a lot of insights into the new way of producing things.
What sorts of 3D printing hardware do you use?
We have an array of production hardware which is among the best in the world. The fleet represents most of the available 3D printing technologies, and we believe each process has its own unique style and strengths. The hardware includes SLA, SLS, FDM, Multijet, Polyjet, DLP based3D printers. We also have industrial and consumer level 3D Scanners, Investment casting for metals and Vacuum Casting for plastics. The aim is to constantly provide the best and latest technology to our customers, keeping them up to date with the rapid progress 3D printing.
While many know about 3D printing hype, Industrial application is still remains unexplored. This needs awareness drives through demonstration and projects.
Imaginarium has been at the forefront in its endeavour to promote 3D printing, the new production technology in the country and has been looking for avenues and partners who share this mission.
Inside 3D Printing is a globally recognised brand for 3D printing events and initiatives, and I believe it is the perfect time for this step foot in India. I am sure this event will grow into a regular annual affair showcasing the best of 3D printing to India, and helps make the technology accessible and appreciated by everyone.
Imaginarium finds a natural partner in Inside 3D Printing to make this possible.
While many know about 3D printing hype through media, Industrial application is still remains unexplored. This needs awareness drives through demonstration, projects and sharing of successful case studies.
Inside 3D printing show at Mumbai will sure address this need by demystifying the technology and instilling confidence in its capability.
What are you most looking forward to at Inside 3D Printing Mumbai?
I am looking forward to Expert Talks, Showcase of Best of 3D printing and Networking. This goes a long way in creating a 3D Ecosystem in the country.
This also helps to connect with the community and helps to build bonds and new partnerships.
What is Imaginarium’s future vision?
We wish to bring the best of 3D printing and allied technologies to our country and deploy it pan India to address every need. Imaginarium seeks to be a platform that empowers and connects businesses, institutions and individuals who want to use this technology to solve problems and make new ideas come to life, and we are channelising all our energy to do this in a sustainable fashion.
At the conference, Mr. Rao will be presenting a keynote in the Medical Track: “The Making of India’s first Cranial & Maxillofacial 3D Printed Implant.” If you will be attending, be sure to attend this presentation, focusing on the use of technology in medical procedures. “The talk will narrate the story of the very first approach, inhibitions, challenges and progress of India’s first cranial and maxillofacial implants carried out in few of the most prestigious hospitals in Mumbai,” as the description in the conference agenda notes.
Also note that Imaginarium will be offering, on a first-come first-serve basis, select participants at the conference a chance to join the 3D Print Experience on December 5th. The experience includes a tour of Imaginarium’s facility–one of Asia’s largest additive manufacturing facilities–to see what goes on behind the scenes.
You can register now to attend Inside 3D Printing Mumbai–and remember to use code 3DPRINT at checkout to save 10% on your registration!
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