Massivit 3D has two basic units on the market: the flagship Massivit 1800/1800 Pro and the Massivit 1500 Exploration Printer, the latter an affordable option for print service providers looking to get into 3D printing. The applications for Massivit’s 3D-printed products are many, and are often combined with 2D graphics like retail displays, signage or billboards to make them “pop.” And not just pop—one of the company’s aims is to create 3D displays or objects that serve as “selfie spots,” or opportunities for people—young people, primarily—to snap pictures of themselves with the object.
Erez Zimerman joined Massivit 3D four years ago as VP of Global Sales, and was appointed CEO in May 2019. We caught up with Zimerman at the recent PRINTING United show in Dallas.
WhatTheyThink: How does Massivit 3D see the market for 3D printing?
Erez Zimerman: Massivit is leading 3D printing for visual communications. You know that 3D printing has many, many sub-categories or niches that are in the field today from footwear to automotive—you name it, 3D printing is penetrating in a very nice way. Massivit is leading the 3D penetration with the Massivit 1800 printer. We’re actually capable of printing large-scale 3D props and visual communication aids that can be installed in terminals and window displays.
WTT: Who are your typical customers? Is it agencies, print service providers or some third party?
EZ: Usually we have several. Let’s categorize them in two main categories. The first are the print service providers, the companies that have wide-format printers from EFI or Durst or HP who are doing all kinds of campaigns and want to add 3D elements to open new business opportunities for them. That’s the first market. Another market that we have is theme parks. They’re the Disneys, the Universals, doing all kinds of props that are being produced using, let’s say, analog techniques, and now we’re bringing digital 3D printing to them so they can produce smarter, faster and in a more efficient way.
WTT: What are some of the top applications that you’re seeing customers produce? Obviously props are one of them…
EZ: One example is a 3D-printed Spiderman, that’s for the theme park or scenic fabricators. It’s very straightforward: you print the prop and it can be installed in Disney or Universal in all kinds of campaigns. Another application includes all kinds of window displays. We show an example for Blue Moon beer or Bud Light. [A giant bottle] can be 3D-printed and put in a bar or a window display in a sports bar or wherever to promote it.
WTT: Something like the beer bottle for Blue Moon or Bud Lite would be more likely to come from an ad agency, I’m guessing.
EZ: An ad agency, of course. Assume that you have Louis Vuitton [as a client] and you want to use a Louis Vuitton bag: it can be 3D-printed. A bottle of champagne—all kinds of things around consumer goods and consumer electronics. For the corrugated industry, with Massivit you can add 3D elements to a corrugated display. One of our main benefits is illumination. Illumination grabs people’s attention. We are the only ones capable of printing totally hollow, meaning you can add illumination from the inside. For signage, we can print channel letters and we are doing all kinds of textures that can be only done with 3D printing. Again, illumination is the key to success. SEG [silicone edge graphics] frames for soft signage are very strong. HP has the new Stitch machine and we can print a 3D frame. SEG is often limited to square frames but Massivit can do all kinds of shapes.
WTT: What are the economics of 3D printing for your customers? What kinds of margins can you get for some of these large-scale applications?
EZ: Our margins are top margins in terms of what you can do with the machine. Our customers bring something totally different. Today, the price is per square meter or per square foot. In our case, it’s a totally different game because you price by event. Our customer in Canada did a campaign for Adidas [that involved giant 3D-printed sneakers]. It’s a “selfie point.” They’re adding to their customer something that is totally new and this brings the margin back up for the business. That’s what young people look for: selfie points, and it’s a different game in different markets.
WTT: Do your customers partner with other print service providers to do other types of printing, like posters or retail graphics or perhaps commercial printing applications like direct mail?
EZ: Retail graphics, yes, but not direct mail. Definitely wide-format printing and digital offset or commercial printing.
WTT: Massivit has two 3D printers on the market. What’s the difference between them? Are they intended for different markets?
EZ: The same market, but the newer model offers increased resolution, increased speed and improved ease of use for the customer.
WTT: What is the front-end process like? How do you go about designing for 3D printing?
EZ: Since 3D printing became popular, my 12-year-old daughter is doing 3D design by herself using our free software or [Trimble] SketchUp or others that you can download for free from the Internet and do all kinds of design. And then I say, half jokingly and half seriously, that 3D design today is easier than using Photoshop. It’s become so popular that people learn by themselves to do 3D design and printing. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube. So it’s very easy to do 3D design.
WTT: Is there anything else you’d like to add about 3D printing?
EZ: Massivit 3D brings something totally new to this market and enables print shops to invent themselves from the beginning. No longer are prices based on the square foot or square meter. We are bringing something totally different.