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Solido at EuroMold

December 7, 2009

Filed under: additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 06:42

Solido (formerly Solid Dimension) has offered a relatively low-cost 3D printer for many years. I first learned about the Israeli company in December 2000 and visited a couple months later. I could tell the system had potential, but the small organization has struggled since then to make a commercial impact. Until recently, few people knew much about the company and even fewer purchased a system.

The company has “pressed the restart button” and is beginning to make an impression. Solido held a press conference last week at EuroMold 2009 in Frankfurt, Germany with attendance like I had never seen at this international trade fair. In the past, the company had little or no presence at this important event, but this year it was different. Solido’s exhibit was large and striking with crowds of people elbowing their way in to see what all the talk was about. The company created a buzz that few anticipated.

So, what has changed at the company? And who is funding the activity? Jason Barzilay purchased the majority of the company some time ago and is serving as its chairman of the board. Barzilay is a founder of Packard Bell, a PC brand that was once popular in the U.S., especially among home users. The company merged with Zenith Data Systems in 1995 to create a PC business worth $4.5 billion, according to Wikipedia. Unlike many company chairs, Barzilay is hands-on and he is also quite vocal. He’s quick to admit that he’s not an expert in additive manufacturing or 3D printing, but has ideas that he believes will propel the company to an unprecedented level.

It’s much too early to know whether Solido will reach the lofty goals and numbers that Barzily has shared with a few people privately, but the company is off to an interesting restart. SolidWorks cofounder Scott Harris and former SolidWorks COO Vic Leventhal are serving on the company’s board and providing guidance to Solido management. Both spoke at the EuroMold press conference. Solido is also hiring experienced and engaging people that are creating a foundation for what’s ahead. If the current level of enthusiasm is present in 12-18 months, I believe the company could turn a once questionable technology and company into something special.