Shalom Life | October 17, 2015

3D Printing Innovation Taking Place In Israel

Tel Aviv's Reut Institute looks to bolster the rise of three-dimensional printing technology

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: August 8th, 2013 in Business » World

The Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv-based policy group, will soon bolster the already steady rise of three dimensional printing technology through their XLN (Cross-Lab Network) initiative.

Reut’s CEO, Roy Keidar, is passionate about the project, telling ISRAEL21c, "We have such sophisticated easy-to-use tools, like 3D printers, that today it’s not a dream that you can wake up in the morning, sketch an invention, put it on your computer and then print it."

Three dimensional printing has come up in the news multiple times over the last few years, making headlines for the objects it can generate, ranging from models, to fashion, to medical equipment, and even guns.

The Reut Institute’s goal is to educate and encourage the Israeli public to take ownership of the technology, using it as something that can be used for good and benefit humankind, as opposed to causing harm.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama has announced his plans to open fifteen self-manufacturing sites across the country that will help in stabilizing the American economy.

Gigi Grindstein, founder of Reut, believes that their XLN initiative will maintain Israel's place as leader in the hightech and self-manufacturing market, he told ISRAEL21c. "We have to create broad technological literacy in this area, to groom leadership and to focus this revolution, and to do it in a way that is inclusive."

Keidar added that while, before, producers were necessary for commonplace necessities such as printers, today that is no longer the option, and that hardware is more easily accessible to the public.

There is currently much competition on the 3D printing market, particularly after the 2012 merger of American company Stratasys and Israeli-based Objet, both leaders in 3D printing, who later acquired desktop 3D printing company Makerbot.

With Israel's Something3D on the market too, Keidar insists that "XLN is not about making a printer but making sure we’re at the forefront of the self-manufacturing revolution. We are opening physical spaces that can serve as a place to educate the Israeli public and develop the kind of leadership that evolves to startups and companies.”

Meanwhile, the XLN initiative has opened a CTS in Haifa, and plans to open ones at Bat Yam’s Design Terminal, Kiryat Shmona, Shlomi, Jerusalem, Eilat, and Safed. Their goal is to have 40 local and regional centres, with poorer areas being the priority.

The Reut Institute's operational budget is kept within reach through partnerships with municipalities, corporations and funders, such as the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, which sponsors two CTS labs. Reut hopes that the program will eventually be self-sustaining, introducing fees and revenue-generating labs.

Keidear has high hopes for the initiative, seeing it as "an energy boost for societal innovation. Israelis are so creative, they will take the idea and run."

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