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Latik Gupta, head of Jumbo Enterprise, shares all about his new 3D printing development center in this exclusive interview with Venkat Raghvan.

What are your plans post the launch of your 3D printing development centre? And what is unique about Jumbo 3D Manufacturing?

Jumbo’s 3D printing facility will pave way for easy adoption of 3D printing technology for those entrepreneurs in the UAE who are interested in exploring their own businesses but are facing limitations due to the lack of finance, technical know-how or business planning support.
The facility is the only 3D printing incubation centre in the region where specialized training is imparted to develop a business model from concept to reality. Our plan is to impart 3D skills to local start-ups and entrepreneurs and raise awareness on 3D printing as an innovative technology that can greatly enhance efficiency in manufacturing and production.

Where is the 3D printing industry heading towards and will it cross the mass production barrier or how is it going to support the production companies?

The Dubai 3D printing strategy aims to make the city the world’s leading 3D printing hub by cutting costs across several sectors, particularly in the medical and construction sectors. Currently, the technology is a viable proposition for the aviation, defence, robotics and automation and power and energy sectors. It is also quite beneficial in the medical sector, especially when it comes to prosthetics and dentistry, as such equipment can be easily customized for patients. 3D manufacturing is a clean process with minimal wastage compared to traditional manufacturing. It is also environment-friendly.  
    
What are the struggles and challenges in the 3D industry and in which way is Jumbo going to support?

At present, the biggest challenge is the lack of awareness about this technology, which has created a barrier for adoption. Jumbo is conducting initiatives to improve awareness in the industry.
Jumbo has also partnered with Dubai small and medium enterprise (SME) to give the members access to our 3D printing facility and manufacture parts and also apply the technology across targeted industry segments, including architecture, healthcare, education and automotive. It will also help potential SME members to incubate 3D printing business with Jumbo and offer guidance and mentorship to leverage 3D printing to any business looking to implement the technology.

In which way will the 3D printing industry support UAE government’s sustainability/environment friendly vision? Additionally, will metal 3D printers will overtake plastic?

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai has launched the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’, which aims to exploit this technology to improve lives and promote the country as a leading hub of 3D printing technology by 2030. 3D manufacturing is a clean process with minimal wastage compared to traditional manufacturing, so it is environment friendly.
Localized 3D manufacturing has the potential to reduce the UAE’s imports and develop its own manufacturing competencies. Both metal and plastic serve different segments of the market, so you cannot compare one to the other. Neither one can overtake the other, since both are equally important across various industries.

As new methods and materials continue to spring up, how will you integrate 3D printing into business in the coming years? What new ventures will you build around these emerging applications?

3D printing is already an integral part of the business for several key industries which Jumbo is currently catering to across the UAE, but more needs to be done to make it mainstream. Given that SMEs are an important segment of the business community in the country, 3D printing could help many of these entrepreneurs bring innovative ideas to life.
Jumbo plans to impart 3D skills to local start-ups and entrepreneurs, create awareness and establish a market for 3D printing technology. A cohesive industry-wide approach like this, which is in tune with the UAE’s vision, will help make 3D printing a new reality and build a robust economy of the future.
It should be noted that on 10 October 2018, Jumbo Group had announced a state-of-the-art facility that also included an HP 3D printing demo centre based on its HP Multi-Jet Fusion technology as well as several other 3D products aimed at dental, architectural and various other applications. The facility also houses equipment for post-processing, finishing and painting of finished products.
The Group also inaugurated a 3D application development centre in the Middle East at an event attended by Saeed Al Gergawi, director of Dubai Future Academy at its newly launched facility in Jebel Ali industrial area. The project was originally inspired by Sheikh Mohammed’s vision for ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’. Soon after the announcement, the company engaged with a leading global business consulting firm to conduct a study and launched its 3D printing division in 2017, followed by a partnership with envison TEC and HP Inc.