India-based think3D, the largest desktop 3D printing platform in the country, has been around since 2014. Since it opened its doors, the organization, which is a subsidiary of Singapore-based think3D Labs Pte Ltd, has presented a 3D printing art exhibit at an international school, supplied 3D printed models for an initiative with India’s Devnar Foundation for the Blind, helped several engineering students test out their newly developed metal 3D printer, and last year unveiled its new mobile app for Android. Recently, think3D won a government tender to set up a new 3D printing facility in India.
The $6 million state-of-the-art facility in Vizag will be developed in partnership with the provincial Indian government of Andhra Pradesh, which is the eighth largest state in India. The facility will be part of a new medical devices park, the Andhra Pradesh Medical Tech Zone (AMTZ), which is an SPV formed by the Andhra Pradesh government and the Indian government to reduce the country’s dependence on imported medical devices and promote this type of manufacturing within India. The medical device manufacturing zone is roughly 270 acres.
“We realized the need to have mega industrial partners in AMTZ,” said Dr. Jithendra Sharma, the CEO of AMTZ. “They will support manufacturers in producing quality product at an industrial cost-effective scale.”
The medical device market in India is worth $5.5 billion, and huge growth is expected in the next several years. However, nearly 75% of the market is made up of imported medical devices, which means a monetary and employment loss for the country. The AMTZ park was founded to encourage medical device manufacturers to set up shop in India, as part of the central government’s Make In India initiative, which was launched two years ago as a means of transforming the country into a global manufacturing and design hub.
A substantial up-front investment is required for medical device manufacturing, in order to pay for research and development efforts, quality control, and quality machinery facilities. Some facilities, while a required part of the manufacturing process, do not have much of a utilization rate, which is why the government in India made the decision to partner up with private entities to break ground on common facilities, and allow manufacturers in the AMZT park the option to use the 3D printing manufacturing and design facility on a pay-per-use basis, which lowers the manufacturer’s up-front cost significantly.
A tender was floated to choose a private entity to work with AMTZ to set up and manage the 3D printing and design facility at the park, and after a long technical and financial evaluation, think3D was chosen.
“As per government rules, we floated a tender for an entity to set-up and manage day-to-day operations at the facility. think3D got selected in the tendering process by winning both technical and financial bids,” explained Nitin Bharadwaj. Vice President, Operations, AMTZ Ltd. “We believe think3D is a perfect partner for us to manage the 3D facility in the park. We were looking for one entity having expertise in 3D Design, 3D Scanning & 3D Printing fields and think3D fits the bill perfectly. We have seen various case studies they executed and are very excited about the value they bring to the park.”
think3D will set up and manage, as part of its agreement with AMTZ, a 20,000-square-foot rapid prototyping facility, an expert 3D design facility, and a reverse engineering facility; the rapid prototyping facility will house various high-quality metal 3D printers for any SLS, SLA, and bioprinting needs. AMTZ will purchase the 3D printers, and lease both the facility and the machinery to think3D, which will manage the whole operation at its own expense while offering 3D printing customers at the park a subsidized pay-per-use rate; a market rate will be available for any entities outside of the park.
“We are very excited to be part of AMTZ facility and contribute to the MAKE IN INDIA initiative,” said Raja Sekhar Upputuri, think3D Co-Founder. “A state-of-art 3D printing & 3D designing facility helps manufacturers bring innovative products into the market at a much faster pace. We look forward to see some great medical devices coming out of this park in years to come.”
When government and 3D printing mix, things can definitely take a positive turn in the manufacturing and education sectors – just look at everything that’s been accomplished since the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy was established. But this isn’t always the case, so it will be interesting to see what comes of the AMTZ and think3D partnership. Discuss in the think3D forum at 3DPB.com.