Tata Technologies partners Stratasys for 3D additive manufacturing

Indian manufacturing gets access to faster prototyping and short-run parts

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The Stratasys J55 3D printer that’s aimed at design offices producing prototypes and looks to be about the size of a small fridge freezer.
The Stratasys J55 3D printer that’s aimed at design offices producing prototypes and looks to be about the size of a small fridge freezer.

On 7 July 2021, Pune-based Tata Technologies stated that it is partnering with the US founded and Israel headquartered Stratasys, a 3D printing technology company to provide additive manufacturing capabilities to Indian manufacturers. Tata Tech’s leverage in the manufacturing sector will use Stratasys solutions to assist concepts, prototyping, and manufacturing in the country. Stratasys has had a presence in Bengaluru for several years.

The Tata Tech press release states, “The partnership will combine complete capabilities and offerings of Stratasys’ in the polymer space in terms of products designed to yield functional prototypes in multi-color.”

Tata Tech president and global head of technology solutions, Anand Bhade, sees 3D additive manufacturing affecting quick prototyping and manufacturing positively. 3D additive printing is a disruptive technology that uses inkjet type arrays to lay down materials in subsequent layers to create contours and solid objects in various materials. It is already used in the country for dentistry and the manufacture of prosthetic components, and the prototyping of consumer products.

While the 3D output of machine parts and models is well established for the last two decades, the full-size prototyping from computer-aided design is relatively new, especially from materials such as plastic resins, metal, fiber, and ceramics. There are already European manufacturers of food processing and packaging equipment that no longer provide spare parts but instead permit their 3D manufacture by their customers by providing an output file and material specification for a 3D printer.

Tata Technologies’ press release adds, “The manufacturing sector in India has been fraught with various challenges to meet the contemporary needs of end-users, which include higher precision, faster time-to-market, mass product customization, and automation.” It stated that rapid prototyping and 3D printing from computer-aided designs using various raw materials such as plastic, thermoplastic, metal, fiber, resin, and ceramics could produce sophisticated designs at minimal costs and lower raw material usage.

Rajiv Bajaj, managing director for Stratasys India and South East Asia, said that the partnership with Tata Technologies shows the company’s commitment to Indian industry in driving the adoption of additive manufacturing. He expects this to be one of the viable solutions to address vulnerabilities in manufacturing and supply chain logistics. “We welcome Tata Technologies, one of the most trusted brands in India, to our ecosystem and are confident that this partnership will accelerate technological transformation in Indian industry and academia with best-in-class Stratasys technology,” he said.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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