I created HAVA 3D in 2013 and is now organized around three main business units:
- Makershop: e-commerce BU dedicated to selling 3DPrinting desktop solutions & materials directly to professionals, industrial customers and public institutions;
- Neofab: team of experts specialized in industrial-grade 3D printers and corresponding materials (metal, large format, high temperature);
- Sotec 3D: distribution BU with a network of resellers in France that represent top desktop 3D Printing brands.
My interest in the 3D printing industry first started when I sold DLP® technology in 2016 to one of the largest 3D Printing design and manufacturing suppliers in France. As Sales Director of a large corporation in the Semiconductor industry, I had the opportunity to sell products to multiple innovative industries, including additive manufacturing.
At that time, a high interest was already being taken in 3D Printing, and it was believed this disruptive technology would broadly expend to B2C markets. In reality, just like any disruptive technology, there are multiple barriers to overcome to get mass-market adoption. This technology is now competitive enough to transform the way products are designed, developed, manufactured and made available.
3D Printing technologies create a new world of opportunities for companies by pushing limits with incremental innovation inside existing value chains, or can develop new playgrounds with breakthrough innovation. It is very exciting to build up solutions for our customers to meet their creative needs and trends, to build up contacts across industries and meet new market application needs. The mass personalization of products is a good example: engineers can now create specialized products to address as many use cases as there are end users!
We are still at the beginning of the lessons learnt from the Covid 19 crisis. We have been faced with the weaknesses of the current global manufacturing model. Over the last decades, the main objective was to transfer production into emerging economies while most sales took place in the richest countries. This pandemic literally slowed down the global economy and stressed the need for modern and local industries. 3D Printing is one of the major solutions to address such a need and it is known as one of the main pillars in the transition to industry 4.0.
3D Printing played a major role and became a natural alternative to standard ways of manufacturing which could not be accessed any more, due to the current value chain structure. Fablabs equipped with 3D Printers showed up to some extent and, in some specific cases, as a valid alternative to the “fabless model”. In France, like any other countries in Europe, 3D printers literally saved lives. For instance, a major hospital was equipped with the technology to print critical parts for respiratory systems.
The AM market was able to react quickly and answer a wide spectrum of needs ranging from personal protection equipment to medical devices. Makers worked together in solidarity with health institutions to bring appropriate solutions and solve emergencies.
Like most companies, remote working was put in place within a few days for most of our employees. Cloud based tools are part of the company’s DNA and facilitated transition for this new setup. The only exception was for technicians dedicated to machine servicing. Personally, I stayed at the office during the full pandemic phase to help with running the print farm and address local institutions’ needs. Despite a sudden and significant peak of market demand, the team was able to focus their efforts and address customers’ needs as much as possible with passion and solidarity.