Delving into the world of 3D printing

ACN takes a day trip to Immensa Technology Labs to discover the power of 3d printing

Tags: 3D3D printingImmensa Technology Labs (www.immensalabs.com)United Arab Emirates
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Delving into the world of 3D printing Fahmi Al Shawwa, CEO, Immensa Technology Labs.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  December 22, 2017

While the technology behind 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, has been around for over 30 years, it has yet to be really embraced here in the Middle East region. Whereas more industrialised nations across the globe have been utilising AM in mainstream manufacturing for over a decade, the Middle East region lags behind in both understanding the potential of the technology, as well as how to apply it effectively.

What is needed to jumpstart the technology’s widespread adoption beyond simple prototyping and model making, is the establishment of a fully-equipped additive manufacturing micro-factory that can help realise the commercial use of 3D printing across industries.

That was the viewpoint shared by the minds behind the launch of Immensa Technology Labs, which is reportedly the first privately-owned company that specialises in the development and advancement of 3D printing in the UAE.

“We consider Immensa to be an engineering solution firm that utilise additive manufacturing as opposed to a 3D printing service bureau. Which means we work very closely with our clients to solve their manufacturing problems or make their existing process more efficient using 3D printing,” comments Fahmi Al Shawwa, CEO, Immensa Technology Labs.

“Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing is not about the machines, anyone that understands the technology will tell you that the machines comprise no more than 30% of the process. The eco system or the process of additive manufacturing includes a number of processes starting with the design/software’s, to material qualification and development, then the production and finally the post production.”

Founded in 2016 following a lengthy three-year period spent researching AM technologies, the Dubai-based company primarily caters to the UAE market, though it has fielded inquiries from organisations in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the region. While in operation for only a short period of time, Immensa has already built up an impressive portfolio of work that includes specialised orders for the healthcare sector, producing parts for government organisations, and manufacturing critical components for industrial drone manufacturers.

When pressed on his viewpoint of the current state of the region’s 3D printing market, Al Shawwa admits that there is still a lot that needs to be done within the field.

“3D printing is still in its infancy in the Middle East. Of the total number of industrial 3D printer’s units installed globally less than 0.1% are in the Middle East. For example, one factory in the UK has 46 Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machines, while the entire GCC has only five installed of that same industrial grade machine,” explains Al Shawwa.

Despite not being adopted yet in mainstream manufacturing, the CEO is quick to point out that there are a handful niche enterprise that have embraced AM technologies, one example being Jordan’s dental sector.

Another good example is the region’s jewellery sector, which utilises 3D printers for mould making. According to Al Shawwa, the first 3D printer to be deployed for commercial use in the UAE was by a jeweller, roughly eight years prior.

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