In his first interview with The Jerusalem Post, Dr. Yoav Zeif, CEO of the leading 3D printing company Stratasys, talks about the industry revolution that has already begun and promises that the future is set to be even more exciting and promising
“The world has changed, and we are positioned to make great impact in this new reality,” Dr. Yoav Zeif, CEO of Stratasys recently told The Jerusalem Post.
Stratasys is a global leader in 3D printing, with the largest polymer additive manufacturing offering, network of partners, and customer installed base in the world – for over 30 years.
“Did you hear about the Siamese twins separated in a groundbreaking surgery this year?” asked Dr. Zeif. “Well, that was possible, in part, thanks to our 3D printing technology that created exact replicas of the twins’ skulls to allow the surgeons to prepare for the surgery on the patients’ exact anatomy. The impact: fewer operating hours and greater surgery success rates.”
Zeif recently sat down with The Post to discuss trends in healthcare, manufacturing, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on global production, and the unlimited possibilities for the future through the world of 3D printing.
“I joined Stratasys with the vision of unlocking the power of this transformative technology, 3D printing, for the masses,” he recalled. “But my first two weeks managing the company I found myself in quarantine. Suddenly, almost overnight, the daily challenges presented by COVID left my teams with a sense of uncertainty and posed great challenges for our business.”
“I’m an optimist. I was determined to turn to the challenge into a meaningful opportunity. We have a lot to do, and we can leverage this situation to the greater good,” he said.
As a seasoned executive consultant, Zeif established a team to build a new long-term company strategy, dubbed ‘Strata-gy’. “It resulted in us refocusing our energy from the problems we faced while being stuck at home to finding solutions for a better future, “ he said.
At the same time, Stratasys innovators developed ways to help communities around the world, with applications and products delivered to those in need, in real-time.
The Ability to Print Whatever We Want
“We have the ability to print whatever we want, whenever we want. Instead of having a production line, you have a printer and a file. Wherever there is a printer - you can print,” he said.
As such, at the height of COVID-19, the company received requests for spare parts for ventilators, for nasal swabs, and personal protective equipment like face shields for medical staff.
“We had the software and we connected 150 of our biggest customers - including Boeing, Medtronic, Bayer, Schlumberger, Raytheon and General Atomics - and created a massive network of machines to print supplies for hospitals and healthcare workers,” he said.
The operation was a huge success and helped countless healthcare organizations across the United States and other parts of the world at the height of the pandemic.
“This created enthusiasm in the company, realizing the impact we were having on human lives. It was meaningful and brought to the forefront the potential of our industry,” he said.
Zeif said that ultimately the pandemic generated a lot of awareness around the world of 3D printing and its advantages. During 2020 and 2021 Stratasys completed acquisitions remotely, raised hundreds of millions of dollars in capital, and set the company on a path to further growth.
“We have versatility and the ability to react to crises in a way that traditional manufacturing cannot,” he said. “If you want to produce thousands or hundreds of thousands of anything - we provide the most economical path to success.”
Personalized and Sustainable
“We also allow for personalization, and we are truly focused on sustainability,” he said. “We are very proud, because we work in many big industries - healthcare, aerospace, automotive, and our commitment to reduced waste and climate action directly impacts how environmentally friendly our consumers are.”
“Imagine 3D printed parts for airplanes that are as strong, if not stronger, than traditionally manufactured parts but weigh a third less. When applied, they consume less fuel. Add to that the fact that they can be printed on-site and on-demand so they require less shipping and transportation resources. This is the future of industrial additive manufacturing,” he added.
3D printing allows companies to produce according to exact specifications, eliminating unnecessary physical inventories, reducing unnecessary waste, whilst producing locally and thereby reducing shipping times and costs.
“The pandemic and supply chain issues have proven the need for a change. Moving away from long production lines, a lot of waste, and long supply chains to a simple file and a system that can produce whatever is needed,” he said.
“How many people wake up in the morning with a real purpose when they go to work? I’m proud to say that Stratasys employees wake up in the morning and realize that they are changing the way the world is operating, for the better,” he said.
“The world is in a different place today because of the pandemic,” he said. “Now it is about adopting technologies that promote production in a different way-- to a network of manufacturing machines, digitally connected, printing only what you need, when you need it – at scale, and tailored to your production needs. Creation becomes unlimited, cost effective and more environmentally friendly, all at the same time. This is amazing because it unlocks endless possibilities for growth that also promote improved social and climate impact.”
“At Stratasys, we are proud to be at the forefront of meaningful ‘mindful manufacturing,’” he added. •
This article is taken from The Jerusalem Post Annual Executive Magazine 2021-2022. To read the entire magazine, click here.
This article was written in cooperation with Stratasys