January 7

Kamlesh Parekh on Imaginarium, 3D printing, and the future of the industry: interview with Swiftnlift

Kamlesh Parekh on Imaginarium’s journey so far and what to expect next.

Imaginarium is a leader in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing technology, housing the largest set up of 3D printers in the country. Having pioneered game-changing applications for over 50 industries, Imaginarium has helped disrupt the manufacturing sector by enabling enterprises to prototype faster, design better and take products to market in shorter 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.

We are grooming the next breed of makers and innovators for another manufacturing revolution by complementing standard manufacturing practices and moving towards a new hybrid manufacturing process.

The Au Courant CEO

Kamlesh Parekh, founder and director. With over 25 years of experience in the jewellery industry, he has been an advocate of 3D printing and its benefits and has been instrumental in introducing the technology to the jewellery industry. His passion lies in creating consumer centric products that make the best use of 3D printing.

Biggest challenges in the industry

There are two main challenges in the industry, the first being people’s belief that 3D printing can be used only for rapid prototyping. Considering how much the technology has grown, we can now manufacture end-use parts using 3D printing. The second challenge is that industrial-grade 3D printers are fairly expensive and people are reluctant to invest that kind of money. Service bureaus like Imaginarium are helping make the technology more accessible and affordable.

One-stop shop to all manufacturing needs

Imaginarium offers a one stop shop for all your manufacturing needs. We design, prototype, and manufacture, by employing a host of additive and subtractive technologies such as SLA, SLS, DLP, MJF, MJM, FDM and CNC milling, casting etc. Our specialised business units work with clients across different sectors.

Imaginarium Rapid caters to Engineers in the Automotive, Aerospace, Defence, FMCG, White Goods and other industries.

Imaginarium Precious offers end-to-end services to Jewellery, Accessories and other related fields.

Imaginarium Life works closely with doctors and surgeons to bring patient-specific solutions for better healthcare – using 3D printing and advanced design software.

Imaginarium Solutions is a team of technology consultants who help clients choose the right 3D printers, materials and software for their applications. We partner with some of the world’s top OEMs and introduce them to those looking to start their 3D printing journey.

Imaginarium Academy proactively spreads the word about 3D Printing and conducts educational programs across schools, colleges and organisations. We also set up 3D Printing labs through our Metamorphosis Cafe initiative.

Imaginarium Ventures is the arm that invests in high potential ideas that make the best use of 3D Printing to solve pressing problems globally.

Making the best use of technology

We’re helping companies and individuals make the best use of advanced technology to innovate completely new business models – be it through inventory-less retail or mass customised product offerings that are made on-demand. Our clients treat us as their own factory in the cloud, using our online platform to upload their designs and order physical outputs in any of our vast selection of materials.

A step ahead of the competition

Imaginarium keeps track of manufacturing trends and is quick to adopt new technologies. Imaginarium has two online factories, Rapid and Precious. Rapid is a one-stop for all manufacturing needs. Anyone can upload a file and commence with small-batch manufacturing in just a few clicks. Precious, is one of its kind platform, where anyone can upload their design, pick a material, finish, and we will manufacture it for them. Both of these platforms are easy to use, accept multiple file types, and generate quotes instantly. We were the first company in India to buy the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printer, and are now certified by HP as the first company in the Asia Pacific region to benchmark parts.

End-to-end 3D printing solutions

Through Solutions, Imaginarium aims to leverage our experience and expertise to provide holistic, end-to-end 3D printing solutions for those who wish to venture into 3D printing. We offer advice on what machines to buy, what software and materials to use, training them to use their new machine, and offer a comprehensive after sales service so that our clients can achieve the most out of their purchase.

Imaginarium also focuses on educating people, from school children to corporate leaders or Government officials on the basics and innovations in 3D printing.

Driving Force

Imaginarium’s founders are from the jewellery and diamond industry. They went for an international trade show in 1998, where they first encountered a 3D printing machine. They believed that this innovative technology could help manufacturing and jewellery production in India, and bought India’s first 3D printing machine.

Infotainment for the future

Imaginarium is now online. Precious, Jewellery & Accessory vertical, has a one of its kind platform, where anyone can upload their design and select their material like brass, gold, silver and order. Precious also has a strong design team with whom we plan to go into retail soon. Rapid, the engineering arm, is on its way to becoming the one stop shop for all low volume manufacturing in plastic, metals or rubber, whether the quantity is 1 or 100,000. This we will do using conventional as well as additive manufacturing. We have launched the online platform for Rapid as well where customers can directly upload their CAD files and order. With Solutions, our software, hardware and material distribution business; we are partnering with top companies across the world and bringing them to India. The most recent one being HP. Through Life, our Medical vertical, we do customised implants, anatomical models, surgical guides etc. Our plan is to scale this up and make it more accessible to hospitals and in turn more patients.

Past and the future

3D printing has come a long way from the low-resolution extrusion based printers to today’s high resolution, high complexity, and fairly accessible technologies. 3D printing is making massive headway into prototyping, manufacturing, and even building end-use parts and we’re excited to see this paradigm shift. 3D printing has democratised design and manufacturing, and people with limited technical experience are also able to manufacture or create products using 3D printing. 3D printing is disrupting manufacturing as we know it, and it’s here to stay.

An adventurous journey

Imaginarium was founded in 2003 with a 3D printing business, Precious, that particularly catered to the jewellery industry. By applying 3D printing technology to jewellery production we help bring complex ideas to life easily along with reduced wastage, lesser cost, and quick turnaround times.  A specialised engineering unit was started in 2006 called Rapid, which offers multiple manufacturing solutions and acts as a one-stop manufacturing shop for all manufacturing needs. In 2011, a specialised medical unit called Life was founded which uses 3D technologies like scanning, printing, and simulation to help doctors develop patient-specific solutions. In 2013, Imaginarium Solutions was founded that took into account our 10 years of experience in Additive manufacturing. Solutions is a consulting arm that advises customers who wish to enter the 3D printing business or improve their process efficiency in their current business.

This article was originally published as an interview in Swiftnlift magazine.

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