Away from the spotlight, this startup is thriving in the B2B 3D printing sector
It was 2010-11, when the term 3D printing was just beginning to enter the public mindset. More companies were realising the potential of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping.
Prasad Rodagi, who was in the field of manufacturing, automation systems, product life-cycle management software soon realized the potential in this new technology and founded ALTEM Technologies for selling professional 3D printing technology to India.
Success and growth
Prasad Rodagi, Founder and Director of the company, dreamt of leading the Indian 3D printing market and set a target of three years to achieve this dream. The growth was such that ALTEM achieved the goal during the company’s second year.
ALTEM Technologies is a leading PLM Software VAR (Value Added Reseller) for Dassault Systemes’ and distributor of 3D printers from Stratasys Ltd. in India since 2010.
It has hundreds of customers, including leading Indian and global companies across diverse segments like automobile, architecture, aerospace, defence, medical, consumer durables, electronics and academia. The company is headquartered in Bangalore, India, and operates through the sales offices in Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and New Delhi.
Technology and innovation
With PLM software solutions like CATIA, DELMIA, 3DVIA and ENOVIA from DassaultSystemes along with FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) and Polyjet technology-based 3D printers from Stratasys Ltd., 3D scanners from ARTEC3D and CAE solution from MSC software., they aim to deliver a complete 3D experience to their customers.
ALTEM believes in partnering with its customers for a vision of ‘Design-Right-at-First-Time’. Design Automation with ALTEM enables customers develop customized functions specific to established design practices or even specific to seed models or design templates. Through automation they help customers reduce the cycle time for large quantities of objects, or it can be used to cut down on everyday repetitive tasks, allowing designers to be more focused.
They offer 3D printing, 3D scanning, PLM solutions, training and even customizations based on the customers’ needs.
Making best use of resources
In the past year, the 3D printing industry has seen a spurt of low-cost printers entering the market due to the expiration of certain technological patents which helped in popularizing 3D printing further.
The management team at ALTEM used this to their benefit and with technical acumen gathered over a decade in this technology, they are educating prospects on 3D Printer applications rather than systems (3D printers) themselves and creating free 3D printed parts for these prospects as a part of proof of concept. This later led to the formation of the portal printmyCAD.com.
Through this initiative, ALTEM offers their customers a chance to try out 3D printed parts for their own designs. It enables engineers to try and test 3D printing on their projects. ALTEM offers this service at free-of-cost to promote the benefits of FDM 3D printing technology. Engineers can now try their 3D printed designs that would help to effectively communicate ideas and convince their decision makers to have an in-house facility.
From the data they collected from this initiative they realized that the end use applications for most of these requests were for concept modelling, functionality test, and product mock-up etc.
Awards and recognitions
ALTEM was awarded the ‘Strategic Vision Partner’ by Stratasys Ltd and also won the India SME 100 award, for which they were recognised by the Government of India.Prasad often acknowledges that
ALTEM has grown to this height all because of collaborative team effort. We do not follow conventional stereotype distributorship model of business. Our mantra to success is to engage and educate customers on 3D printing applications and as per their requirement, we sell them the right required solutions.
Prasad also spoke to YourStory about 3D printing scene in India, the dark side of 3D printing and the future of 3D printing.
On the 3D printing scene in India
Prasad felt that in the past few years, 3D printing has become quite popular in India with both hobbyists and large corporates realizing the value that it brings. There has been a surge in 3D printing startups in India who are focussing on either low cost 3D printers or their own innovations. While ALTEM’s focus is on the larger B2B segment and not on the low cost B2C segment aimed at hobbyists, they feel that startups are doing a good job in building awareness about the technology.
Possible dark side of 3D printing
Like all technology, there are a few possible dark sides of 3D printing as well like reliance on plastic, IP and licensing issues, ability to 3D print guns, house keys etc. Prasad addressed these concerns, saying
Reliance on plastic in 3D printing is going to remain as long as we use plastics in our daily life, be it our day to day house hold items, or automotives etc. At the same time, metal 3D printing is getting popular and relatively economical though not very affordable at this stage. With further technological advancement, I am sure that we will be able offer metal 3D printers at a price in a range of professional plastic 3D printers.
3D printed guns can be used to fire a few bullets before they overheat and stop functioning. Hence these are not useful for terrorists or perpetrators of any crime. However, the real danger is posed by teenagers, kids and hobbyist, who can easily download the 3D printable designs online and 3D print these firearms.
The effective way to control would be ensure that these designs are not available online. Few of the websites have already stopped publishing these designs. Unfortunately, there are many unauthorised sources where one can still access such information.
Future of 3D printing
Prasad sees a bright future for this sector in India as awareness increases and as the technology becomes more affordable. The current growth in this sector is 35% every year for large scale B2B 3D printing companies while the growth rate for startups working in the low cost sector is about 50%, according to Prasad.
Website : ALTEM Technologies