Blog Items - Around the AM World in 80 Days

AROUND THE AM WORLD IN 80 DAYS

July 28,  2022

Blog

CEO Yair Alcobi shares his insights 80 days after taking the reins at XJet

Yair Alcobi recently began his tenure as XJet CEO on May 1st. Since then, he has already (almost) been around the world. Traveling to North America and Europe, he has participated in leading industry conferences, met with XJet customers, and held discussions with partners, investors and other stakeholders in the AM ecosystem.

Yair recently sat down with Dror Danai, XJet’s Chief Business Officer, to share his initial thoughts and insights about XJet and its promising place in the AM industry.

What are your key takeaways on the AM industry?
The additive manufacturing market is big and is growing very fast. According to industry analysts, it is projected to be worth about $120 billion in 2030, with an impressive annual growth rate of some 25%.

On top of that, the market still has a lot of potential. While the adoption rate is getting better, today most of the world is still using AM for prototyping. The big promise is the move to at-scale manufacturing, which will make manufacturers more competitive and agile.

There are many players, and they are bringing different AM technologies to the market. Despite these numerous AM technologies, there actually is not much competition between them as each provides a solution to a different need. The main “competition” is today’s traditional manufacturing techniques, which in some cases have been used for decades, while the main potential lies in bringing traditional manufacturers to AM.

When it comes to ceramic and metal AM, only a very few technologies provide a solution for producing complex geometries while meeting Industry 4.0 needs of high levels of automation, repeatability and productivity. Since XJet does in fact meet these needs, I am very optimistic about our future. Another reason for optimism is that the ceramic and metal AM segments are growing at least as fast as the overall AM market.

Again, the big transformation has not yet happened. Yet I believe the tipping point will happen in the coming years, and XJet is uniquely positioned to be an active leader in large portions of the ceramic and metal AM segments.

What have you learned from XJet customers?
I’ve received great feedback from several customers and industry partners. Customers have shared some stories about amazing applications that have opened my eyes to the great potential of the market. These customers are hard at work developing groundbreaking applications such as tips for surgical tools and heat sinks for supercomputers. We work with our customers on developing new capabilities and applications that can then be scaled.

 

What makes XJet unique?
First, XJet is led by a world-class team. Our industry veterans have been instrumental in developing AM technologies at market pioneers and leading some of the AM industry’s major revolutions. For example, our people brought the polymer/plastic AM gospel to the world, inventing the PolyJet technology and setting the basis for the Objet/Stratasys family of systems using this technology.

We possess deep and interdisciplinary scientific experience, with over 10 years of intensive research conducted by some 100 specialists. Our managers have a proven track record of scaling high-growth and capital equipment companies. I believe that our great team can drive fast adoption of AM in the manufacturing world.

Next, XJet has a disruptive and differentiated technology. Our technology leads to unmatched quality while automating each step in the process. It’s the only technology to combine very fine and exact resolutions with ease of use and end-to-end automation. Also, we have a broad technology portfolio with over 70 issued and pending patents.

How would you describe XJet’s DNA?
XJet professionals bring diverse experience, ideas and viewpoints from varied backgrounds, including machinery, systems, software and chemistry, as well as a good mix of business and manufacturing expertise.

I think our distinctive DNA is expressed through the following key traits:

• Our people strive to make a difference and change the way the manufacturing world operates.

• We aspire to bring environmentally sustainable solutions that improve the world via waste reduction and local production.

• Here for the long run, our people persevere, never give up, and always find a way.

• We emphasize productive teamwork between our savvy veterans and dynamic younger employees, who together bring a great mix of real-world knowledge, expertise, energy and dreams.

Have you identified interesting similarities or disparities between AM and other industries you’ve worked in previously?
One similarity is that “old technologies die hard.” In the established manufacturing world, adoption of new technologies only happens when there’s a real need. Such a need is recognized when an enabling technology comes along.

Previously I was actively involved in the launching of two new technologies. Both behaved according to a curve starting slowly with early adopters. Assuming the need is real, in the end everyone understands that they must adopt the new technology – and then it happens quickly.

The ceramic and metal AM segments are still in their infancy and still finding their way. As there are many options and little standardization, there is no one main path. But some segments and applications are starting to break into real manufacturing – and this is a clear sign that the transformation is going to happen. Again, it will take some time, but the trajectory is clear.

What’s one key area of focus for XJet moving forward?
Looking ahead, we are working to strengthen our customer-facing focus. Our goal is to strengthen each customer and our partnership with each customer. By doing this, we will help our customers successfully adopt our solutions and grow their business.

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