Interview –Tomasz Szymański – CEO of Verashape on the launch of their open innovation program

Tomasz Szymański has been managing a group of companies offering solutions that aid production processes, with a special focus on CAD and CAM software. Production of industrial 3D printing solutions as well as implementing them is a very important part of the company’s activities.

VERASHAPE is recognized as one of the leading Polish 3D printers’ producer popularizing the brand of VSHAPER industrial 3D printers around the globe. The solutions offered by the company are already available, among others on the Dutch, Czech, British, Turkish and Chinese markets. At Formnext (Germany), the company unveiled for the first time, the effects of its work on globally innovative additive printer which is being developed by its R&D team with the support of National Center for Research and Development. The CEO shares today his feelings about the launch of their Open Innovation Program. #OpinionoftheWeek

What drove the launch of Verashape’s Open Innovation Program?
The conceptual work on the 5-Axis Machine continues, but we have decided to present its effects so that potential customers are included in the technology development process. We strive for the machine, that will become available to purchase in 2019, to meet the expectations of demanding production companies. As part of the VSHAPER Open Innovation program, we will do our absolute best to make sure that the R&D work we conduct on the 5-axis machine supporting additive manufacturing are beneficial to specific recipients of this innovative technology.

What do you think of the implementation of such a program in the 3D printing industry? Is it really profitable to all stakeholders?
Companies interested in the implementation of 5D Printing technology, as that is what we are already discussing today, have a direct and real impact on the functionality of the machine, which will eventually help their production processes. It is definitely beneficial for the participants of the program – they become the co-creators of technological solutions, tailored to their needs. All issues concerning know-how and the security of innovations that are created within the process, that may raise any questions among our partners, are regulated in an agreement.

What type of companies could join the program? Any sector of activity in particular?
We are mainly interested in automotive, foundry and aerospace. The amount of companies implementing additive technology in small-lot production or prototyping in these industries is growing continuously. It gives us the opportunity to be a part of subsequent industry branches development where additive manufacturing is an important innovation.From our point of view, most interesting segments of the market are those where enterprises are willing to experiment. They test the possibilities of using 3D printing in completely new fields. That’s how innovation awakes. That is how the inventions that shape our world appear. It feels great to be a part of it.

Tell us more about the VSHAPER 5- axis machine. How does the machine distinguish itself from others of the same range? What are the main sectors of applications?
VSHAPER 5-Axis Machine, developed by VERASHAPE R&D department, will transform the way people think about 3D Printing in FFF technology.  Thanks to 5-axis kinematics equipped with tilting rotary working platform – many additive manufacturing specialists will be able to go beyond the restrictions of layer-by-layer printing method. VSHAPER 5-Axis Machine enables indexed 5-axis printing, enhancing the conventional model printing method allowing to transfer the print plane to another surface that was printed earlier. It also allows simultaneous 5-axis printing that moves away from the conventional layer-by-layer printing method and allows creating spatial models on a three-dimensional surface, by using all the machine axes simultaneously. VSHAPER 5-Axis Machine features active workspace in the shape of a cylinder with a 300 mm diameter and a 300 mm height. The machine is equipped with a tool store allowing the use of few different heads in one printing process.

Thanks to constant temperature inside the working chamber and heated platform, the printer can process most of thermoplastic materials. This is extremely important for the automotive industry which has been striving to substitute metals with high-quality polymers and composite materials. Three-dimensional prints are characterized by high endurance to being stretched or bent and to shock loading. They are often used as alternatives to elements made of iron, lead or titanium.

Will the VSHAPER machine be the only 3D technology that the program will focus on?
At this moment we are focusing solely on the development of VSHAPER 5-Axis Machine with our Open Innovation Program. Not only do we search for new ideas in the field of additive manufacturing but also, and above all, we focus on the involvement of industry representatives in the creation of solutions that will actually impact their production processes. The experience we will gain within the process will definitely be used in other R&D projects as well.

What are Verashape’s prospects of development you can already share with us?
We are focusing on production of reliable machines for industrial additive manufacturing. We are also creating software that supports model preparation for 3D printing. VERASHAPE has licensed Siemens PLM Software’s Parasolid Communicator software which allows us to conduct programming work and makes VERASHAPE one of the first producers of 3D printers to create software based on Parasolid Communicator to support the import and proper preparation of models for 3D printing. When conducting programming work, we strive to make the software we create a universal solution aiding the print preparation process regardless of the type of 3D printer used for printing. This work will definitely have a great influence on our company’s development in the future.

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