Imaginarium: Powering Ideas & Innovation

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With the largest set-up of 3D printers in the country, Imaginarium is one of the pioneers in bringing 3D printing and additive manufacturing into India. In more than a decade of its existence, the company has empowered over 50 industries with game changing applications and has an impressive portfolio of over 4,000 happy customers. Shweta Nanda of Engineering Review takes a look at how Imaginarium is helping industries turn ideas into reality

Every now and then we come across examples of innovations being spurred by 3D printing. While practically every industry right from medical to aerospace and automotive is busy tapping into the power of 3D printing, experts believe we have just scratched the surface in terms of potential. The coming years will see widespread adoption and prevalence of 3D printing solutions across industries. As per the findings of a report by International Data Corp. (IDC), spending on 3D printing will continue at a 20.5% CAGR through 2021. One company that has been at the helm of bringing 3D printing and additive manufacturing into India and showcasing its transformative potential is Imaginarium. The company has more than 20 in-house industrial printers and many smaller FDM printers and has pioneered game changing applications for over 50 industries.

In existence for almost 15 years, the company’s journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Sharing some of the early lessons, learnings and struggles, Nishant Shah, Director, Imaginarium Rapid Pvt Ltd. says, “We began by introducing 3D printing to the jewellery industry at a time where all of the jewellery was being made manually and the very notion of technology disrupting the old way of doing things was outright rejected. But, we all struggled against all odds and spent over a year in only spreading awareness and giving out free samples. Cut to today, the entire scenario is different and there is very little jewellery that is completely handcrafted without the help of the 3D printer.” The company has been going through the same cycle, living out the technology adoption curve for real in practical terms for many other industries, be it automotive, medical, dental, architecture, electronics and electrical applications and even consumer products. “It’s a very interesting ringside view that we have to the evolving additive manufacturing industry in India as well as globally. What we are trying to do is bring a bouquet of applications that can help power ideas across the world for anyone who has them. That is the core mission of Imaginarium to make design and manufacturing accessible to all. And I don’t think that journey will ever stop because we are learning every day and applying old lessons to our new business plans,” says Shah.

As more and more companies discover the potential of 3D printing in reducing timelines for functional prototypes and reducing product launch cycle, Imaginarium has been on a steady growth curve. In over a decade of its existence, the company has established itself as India’s leading Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing Center with its wide-ranging customer portfolio including global leaders, such as HP, Autodesk, Oerlikon, RapidShape and CooksonGold in India. One of the core strengths that has helped Imaginarium carve its success story is its ability to deftly balance the present business and growth for today, with the future new applications, opportunities and markets. The company has different business verticals to cater to the needs and requirements of different industries. Imaginarium Precious serves the jewellery industry, right from designing to cast finished parts in brass, copper, silver, gold. Imaginarium Rapid is its engineering arm, which serves Automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, Consumer White Goods Manufacturers, FMCG & Packaging Industry, Medical & Healthcare Products, Engineering companies, Industrial & Product Designers and many more. Imaginarium Life is its medical arm where it works directly with doctors, hospitals and patients to design and manufacture customer specific implants, surgical guides, anatomical models, casts etc. Imaginarium Solutions provides software, hardware and consumables solutions to anyone looking to invest in a 3D Printer or start a business using 3D Printing.

Disrupting the manufacturing sector
From enabling breakthrough innovations in jewellery, automotive to aerospace, Imaginarium is at the forefront of turning ideas into reality in design and manufacturing. The company is eyeing huge opportunities in the future with India’s booming manufacturing sector and the government’s impetus on making India a manufacturing powerhouse.“The manufacturing industry in India is growing exponentially and with this growth, it is natural that the demand will increase. With the global circumstances, India is being looked at as the manufacturing hub, and you can already see that with many big giant setting up plants throughout the country. There will always be challenges in any growth journey, but we are very hopeful. India has already taken a big leap in the ease of doing business list. Although 3D printing has still not got its recognition or support from the government, we think that day is not far now. With newer reforms, I am sure it is going to only attract more manufacturing in India,” says Shah. The company is continuously analysing newer technologies, materials and applications to help the manufacturing segment in the key pain areas. It is also aggressively expanding its fleet of machines and services. “We are ready to not only serve the Indian Manufacturing customers, but also global ones,” says Shah.

Making design and manufacturing more accessible
The company’s mission is to make design and manufacturing accessible to everyone through user friendly digital platforms and tools. Imaginarium is working consistently towards this direction and its most recent innovation in line with the mission is the Online Factory suite. “Imaginarium’s Precious Online Factory and Rapid Online Factory are two extremely easy-to-use tools, which let anyone sitting anywhere in the world, access a manufacturing factory. They can place an order for their designs, no matter what they are creating, in quantities as small as a single piece. On offer are over 200 materials and finishes ranging from wax, plastic, metals and using processes such as 3D printing, CNC machining, vacuum casting, injection molding, etc.,” updates Shah.The company believes that these simple digital channels have the ability to power a whole new breed of companies and start-ups that want to create products that are customized and personalized, without having to hold an inventory.Another big area of effort and activity at Imaginarium is building tools for personalized retail. “How can we build consumer facing interfaces, products and experiences that allow end consumers and users to become a part of our journey. Can they have a say in the design? Can they get their own likes and preferences? And finally how can they be delivered world-class quality products without having to wait too long or pay too much. So, these are just a few of those directions apart from a lot more that is happening in our investments for new infrastructure,” shares Shah.Looking ahead, we have currently just touched the tip of the iceberg and the possibilities with 3D printing are only limited by imagination. As 3D printing becomes mainstream and India’s manufacturing sector exhibits rapid growth, Imaginarium’s growth outlook looks extremely positive.