Company focuses on additive manufacturing partnership, collaboration

Nanofabrica is working to innovate additive manufacturing as a production technology.

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Nanofabrica (Tel Aviv, Israel) is working to innovate additive manufacturing (AM) as a production technology. The company has a fundamental appreciation of the fact that it works with its customers as a product development partner rather than a company selling plug-and-play technology solutions.

“As AM becomes more and more accepted as a production technology rather than simply a prototyping technology, it comes under a lot more scrutiny,” says Jon Donner, Nanofabrica CEO. “That is why there is a disproportionate emphasis today on standardization and accreditation for AM, and also why there is a lot of work being undertaken to adapt metrology methodologies to work with the manufacture of parts by AM processes. There is some catching up to do before industry has the tools at its disposal to fully automate the production process using AM, but great strides are being made.”

“However, at Nanofabrica, we embedded ourselves in this sector for many years as we were developing our micro AM solution, and key among the feedback that we gathered was that there was and still is a prominent requirement for AM platform vendors to enter into true partnerships with their customers. Too often, it is seen that vendors supply solutions off the shelf and post-sale, the OEM customers are left to work out for themselves the best use of the technology. Vendors should be aware that to justify the CAPEX involved with adopting an AM solution, they have to be convinced of the ROI, and as vendors we can help with this,” Donner concludes.

“It is vital that as an AM platform provider, we are aware that the concept of design for AM (DfAM) is not fully understood by all, and it is here that we can help, and also where customers can get the maximum out of their AM investment,” says Tovit Neizer, VP of Business Development at Nanofabrica. “There is a huge amount that can be achieved in terms of product innovation and the efficiency of an AM production process that is driven by effective DfAM, and no one is better placed to advise on this than the AM platform developer.”

“At Nanofabrica, we nurture customer feedback and customer partnership at every stage of our relationship. It is important to get under the skin of a customer application before we advocate the sale of an AM platform, as there will necessarily be a level of customization that is required to the core technology to best fit a specific product or component. Every customer that we have (and will have in the future) has embarked or is about to embark on a product development process involving AM. As such, we adopt the role of a qualified product development partner, bringing our ‘secret sauce’ to the table whenever necessary to ensure optimal outcomes,” Neizer adds.

As the AM sector matures and as it comes under the spotlight when applied to exacting manufacturing scenarios, there is an industry-wide understanding that the role of AM platform vendors need to change.

“The days when the success of an AM platform vendor is measured simply by the number of units shifted is receding fast,”  Donner comments. Customers are rightly more demanding these days, and need to know that their move to the use of AM as an alternative or complimentary technology to conventional manufacturing processes is fully supported. The onus is on AM platform vendors to ensure that the platform sold is the best fit for its customer’s specific application. Failure to do so means costly end results for OEMs. As we say at Nanofabrica, ‘If you think good AM solutions are costly, how much more costly are bad ones?’ That is why we will continue at every stage to ensure that the solutions and after sale care we provide are always front and center in our customer relationships.” 

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