India Insights

Imaginarium is striving to make design and manufacturing accessible for all

Tanmay Shah

Imaginarium India is a leader in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing technology, having pioneered game changing applications for over 40 industries. Housing the largest set up of 3D printers in the country, Imaginarium has helped disrupt the manufacturing sector by enabling enterprises to prototype faster, design better and realize products in the shortest of time spans. With a complete ecosystem of production services, Imaginarium and its range of industry specific verticals are a platform for ideation and execution, backed up by decades of expertise. Whether it’s manufacturing exquisite jewellery, innovating engineering applications or saving lives with patient specific solutions, Imaginarium is committed to seamlessly transforming ideas into reality.

Indian 3D Printing Network caught up with Tanmay Shah who is part of the Leadership Team focusing on Innovation. As an entrepreneur and 3D printing enthusiast, Tanmay has been working on additive manufacturing and its applications in diverse fields to promote a concrete ecosystem for 3D printing in India.

In the interview with Indian 3D Printing Network, Tanmay speaks about the revival of growth in 3D printing, growth drivers, future plans and major initiatives for 2019, as well as Imaginarium’s experience with I3DPn.

I3DPn: How has the journey been in 3D Printing for Imaginarium in India?

Tanmay Shah (TS): Well nothing short of a roller coaster ride, Imaginarium was one of the pioneers in bringing 3D printing and Additive manufacturing into India. And some of the early lessons, learning and struggles have proved to be invaluable today after almost 15 years. So, Imaginarium began by introducing 3D printing to the jewellery industry at a time where all of jewellery was made manually and the very notion of technology disrupting the old way of doing things was an outright rejection. 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 3D printer. Now, that is the story of just one application area. We have 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 now. It’s a very interesting ring side view that we have to the evolving AM 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 everyday and applying old lessons into our new business plans.

I3DPn: What has been the success mantra for Imaginarium in India?

TS: I think, there is no single formula or success mantra that we could boil everything down to; but one of the primary reasons why Imaginarium is India’s largest 3D printing company comes down to a few fundamental facts and approaches that we have taken right from day one. Some of these include being able to have a collaborative and transparent mindset. Now, what does that mean? That means, we do not assume that we are the experts of everything and we will build everything in-house. Rather, the best work that we have ever done has been in a very collaborative intimate manner, as a co-creation exercise with some of our best customers. So, responding to customer needs and learning from them, listening to what they are asking for and then building those solutions along with them, has been some of the most fruitful work that we have done. Along our journey of coming up with newer technologies, processes, investing in infrastructure and people; I think a key value has been that we are not scared of taking risks. Because, we understand that new upcoming and emerging technologies have a period of incubation. They have to go through a journey where we ourselves spend a lot of money on spreading awareness on just educating clients and prospects, with no benefit in return expected right away. So, taking risks of infrastructure, recruiting and training people as well as spreading awareness, when it is needed the most; all of this, done in a collaborative way, rather than mindless competition. I think these things set us apart and at the end of the day, we don’t rest on our laurels too long, because innovation comes end-in-end with disruption. That if we don’t disrupt what we ourselves built, we are going to go stagnant and deteriorate very soon. So, these are few of those qualities in-grid in every member of Imaginarium. And the guiding forces of our decision making that I strongly believe leads you to success.

I3DPn: What are the future plans at Imaginarium to support the growing Indian AM industry?

TS: If I wanted to put it in one line, our mission is to make design and manufacturing accessible to everyone. The kinds of design which are tending towards co-creation, personalisation, customisation and designing for additive manufacturing. It is these kinds of designs, manifested through advanced manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing, and digital fabrication that has been made accessible through digital platforms easy to use community-focused tools, which can then power businesses, start-ups, individuals, professionals or anyone. It is these kinds of activities that are constantly going to be given impetuous investment in Imaginarium. So, the most recent one is being the online factory. 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 order for their designs, no matter what they are creating in quantities as small as a single piece, as well as being able to use over 200 materials and finishes ranging from wax, plastic, metals and using processes such as 3D printing, CNC machining, vacuum casting, injection molding, etc. These simple digital channels are going to be able to power a whole new breed of companies and start-ups, who want to create products that are customised and personalised without having to hold an inventory. That is one set of activity, we are focusing on. Another big area of effort and activity at Imaginarium is building tools for personalised retail; how can we build consumer facing interfaces, products and experiences that allow end consumers and users to become a part of journey. Can they have a sway in the design? Can they get their own likes and preferences? And finally how they can 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. We are already working with more and more technologies like CNC machining, injection molding, sheet metal, etc. As a one stop shop, I don’t believe that our clients will have to go to anywhere else to bring their ideas into realities.

I3DPn: Are there any special initiatives which Imaginarium is launching in India or any achievements Imaginarium is proud of?

TS: As mentioned in the previous answers as well, the launch of our online factory for the jewellery industry and another platform for the engineering and automotive industry, is giving a whole new set of clientele access to manufacturing without having to worry too much about multiple vendors, technical details, without making them travel or wait for quotations or get on a phone call with yet another human being. These online factories are our efforts towards industry fore point, where we are opening up our entire infrastructure and human expertise layer through simple-to-use digital interfaces. Apart from that, Imaginarium will be launching a lot of products in the healthcare and medical domain soon. Many of these are under wraps right now and under development or patents. But, according to us, it is a very exciting space to watch out for. Apart from that, building community of designers and other creatives that is another effort that we will soon be launching. Finally, we have already started with our first exhibition at Formnext, but from this year onward, Imaginarium is officially going global, visiting and exhibiting around the world, talking about the promise of Indian manufacturing and making it available to the global audience.

Imaginarium Team at I3DP 2017
Imaginarium Team at I3DP 2017

I3DPn: Experience of Imaginarium with Inside 3D Printing Mumbai and what is Imaginarium showcasing this year?

TS: It’s been a fantastic experience with Inside 3D Printing Mumbai. The very first day we met Dilip and Aditya, co-founders of Indian 3D Printing Network concept; was because at that time four years back the industry was in dire need of a platform where they could meet, talk and share insights while working together to build a pie rather than compete mindlessly for a small one. So, what this show has done is that it has given Imaginarium something to look forward to every year and design or plan all our new initiatives, so that they can be announced at the Inside 3D Printing Mumbai. We also look forward to meeting some of our friends, partners and peers in this industry at the show. It gives us a great occasion to sit with them, have a chat about what’s happening and also work together towards what are customers asking for. Being able to catch up and share insights doesn’t happen too often in our busy schedules either. And apart from that, every single year, we have met such interesting visitors and prospective clients. It has always lead to some fun projects, some important scalable ideas coming out of it year-on-year. This year once again, we are going to be showcasing our full strength, talking about Imaginarium’s one stop shop for manufacturing and design, and opening our arms for all kinds of clients. From students to young professionals, free-lancers, start-ups and big multinational companies, there is something in it for everyone at Imaginarium. This year, we are going to take questions on prototyping, batch manufacturing, product design as well as what machine, material and software should you choose to start your AM journey. That is our plan. We also have a special launch this year of The AM Lounge, to host some our guests where they can discuss their problems with us, their pressing issues and our team of experts can give them advice on the spot. We are really excited and look forward to a great show.

Come meet Imaginarium at Inside 3D Printing Mumbai 2018 at Booth No. A1 on 19-20 December 2018 at Nehru Centre, Mumbai.