Dr. Johannes Gartner
He is the VP of Additive Manufacturing Austria, Co-founder of 3Druck.com – The Leading German-language Online Magazine for Additive Manufacturing & 3Printr.com and a Technology Management Researcher with a doctorate from Johannes Kepler University in Austria.
In an exclusive interview with Abhimanyu Chavan, Director at Manufactur3D Magazine for CXO Insights Series, Dr. Johannes Gartner, speaks about AM-Austria, a need for a joint and coordinated effort for Austria to be internationally competitive, how Austria has defied odds and has achieved so much more despite is small geographical size, innovation and what fascinates him about India.
Q: What can you tell us about yourself and your experience in Additive Manufacturing?
A: My name is Dr Johannes Gartner, and I am the co-founder and vice president at AM-Austria. I have been active in the industry for more than ten years, research and teach at international universities, and am the editor of the leading German-language magazine 3Druck.com.
Q: What exactly is AM-Austria, what does it do, and what are its objectives?
A: We founded AM-Austria in 2018, to pursue the strategic goal of bringing the Austrian additive manufacturing players together and making them visible and capable of acting on a regional and international level. The initiative was launched by representatives who have been active in the Austrian additive manufacturing industry for many years. AM-Austria pursues the goal of making Austria one of the most innovative pioneers in the field of additive manufacturing in order to leverage the enormous future potential of this technology. The association is organised as a non-profit association supported by the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK).
Q: What is the size of the Austrian 3D printing market? Please provide us with some figures.
A: Despite its small size, Austria is exceptionally successful in additive manufacturing. Austria offers a comprehensive portfolio of different AM technologies with over ten domestic manufacturers and ranks fourth worldwide among those nations with the most system manufacturers. Only the USA, Germany and China have more AM device manufacturers than Austria, which means Austria has the most AM manufacturers per inhabitant worldwide. Austria also ranks third in terms of the number of AM start-ups per capita in the last ten years. In addition, the Austrian industry covers the entire value chain around AM in above-average quality.
Q: What is the Austrian end-user using 3D printing for? Can you give a breakup of the usage?
A: Austria is a very well-established industrial nation. In addition to some global industrial companies, our industry consists of a high proportion of manufacturing SMEs that supply high-quality products for international corporations. The main applications are found in high-quality industrial areas with high demands on machines, processes and materials.
Q: What are the specific challenges that AM companies in Austria or the DACH Region face? Are you experiencing any impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the region?
A: Austria’s basis for a first-class positioning in this sector is extremely good in an international comparison. However, this circumstance is little known to the general public, politics and business outside of the additive manufacturing industry. Therefore, we are convinced that a joint and coordinated effort is required to keep the small industrial nation of Austria internationally competitive and make it fit for future technologies. Therefore, networking, exchange and cooperation across all nine federal states and with international stakeholders are essential.
First and foremost, the Russia-Ukraine war is causing enormous human suffering and we hope that this will end quickly. The impact on other areas appears to be secondary at this point in time and is also too early to estimate.
Q: How does Austria fare in terms of Innovation in 3D printing?
A: As the figures above show, Austria is an extraordinarily innovative country in many areas and especially in AM. For instance, a recently published European Patent Office (EPO) study provides a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging leaders in AM technologies. In the observation period from 2014 to 2017, the number of international AM patent applications rose by 370%. Austria recorded a far above-average increase of 1300% and secured the top international rank of all countries.
Q: Last year the Austrian Government launched a grant program for buying 3D printers. What can you tell us about this initiative and how has it fared in the one year since then?
A: Additive manufacturing was recognised as digitised production in Austria and enjoyed a state subsidy for investments in the digital field. Initiatives like these are an excellent investments in Austria as a business location. This was very well received across all industries.
Q: Are companies from the DACH region interested in entering the Indian market? If so, what are they looking for? If no, then why not?
A: Most companies in Austria already offer their products internationally and thus also in India. Due to its high level of technical expertise, India is of course an extremely interesting country, not only for Austrian companies. Our focus on high-end industrial applications is of course best suited for Indian industrial companies with high quality standards.
Q: How have the last two pandemic years been for Austrian AM companies, and what are your expectations for this year and ahead?
A: The pandemic and the associated economic challenges have of course hit many sectors internationally hard. In Austria, tourism, gastronomy and the health sector in particular had to struggle enormously. As everywhere else, there are effects in other industries, for example in the form of postponed investments. However, in the course of international delivery problems, the valuable properties of additive manufacturing and the possibility of being able to produce independently of location became apparent. We expect that future companies and nation states will strive to become more resilient and the demand for additive manufacturing processes will therefore continue to rise.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Indian AM industry, and what do you like about it?
A: We are fascinated by the developments in India and admire the creativity and achievements. Furthermore, India is an internationally oriented nation with tremendous technical human capital in all technological fields. These are exactly the properties that make additive manufacturing successful. As in other industries, India already plays an important role in the global market, which will certainly continue to increase significantly especially in the AM sector.
Q: What are your thoughts on our CXO Insights initiative?
A: CXO Insight is an excellent initiative that aligns with our attitude. We consider additive manufacturing to be a young and extremely exciting field in development. We believe in international collaborations and exchanges that help unlock the potential for all of humanity. In this respect, we welcome the initiative and are proud to be part of it.
In our CXO Insights section, Abhimanyu Chavan, Director at Manufactur3D Magazine interviews leading CXOs from the global Additive Manufacturing community and gain insights from them on the 3D printing technology, the developments in the global 3D printing industry, and also on India’s 3D printing industry in particular.