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Two Nights at a Kibbutz

December 17, 2017

Filed under: life,review,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 18:45

I returned from my eighth trip to Israel earlier last week. The country is intensely interesting and thriving with many new infrastructure investments. Nearly everything about the country is fascinating, and I wish I had added another day or two with each visit. The Israeli people are highly educated, speak excellent English, and are up-to-date on world events and American politics. The amount of history in every corner of the country is staggering.

When visiting Israel the first time in March 1993, long-time friend Dave Tait, then with Laserform, and I were introduced to the concept of the kibbutz. A kibbutz is a community that originated in 1909 and focused on agriculture. The communal lifestyle has changed over the years and sources of income have expanded into the production of many types of products. I had always wanted to visit a kibbutz to see, up close, what life on one was like. More than 24 years later, the opportunity developed.

Thanks to associate consultant Joseph Kowen, who lives in Zichron, Israel, for booking a room for me at the Dalia kibbutz, located about 37 km (23 miles) southwest of Nazareth. Upon our arrival, Joseph and I immediately caught the aroma of herds of sheep and cattle, which were located adjacent to the 800 or so residents. Dalia was formed in 1939 and has since expanded into manufacturing, as well as wine-making. It offers visitor lodging as an additional stream of income.

I found my time at the kibbutz interesting. The lodging is not high-end, but my room was clean and comfortable and the wireless Internet and breakfast were excellent. Also, the employees were very friendly and helpful. Coincidentally, the father of one of them is working in Estes Park, Colorado, which is about an hour from Fort Collins. I went for walks both mornings to get a close-up look at the lifestyle on a kibbutz. It looked and felt somewhat similar to a neighborhood in a rural village in the U.S.

The Israeli kibbutz is among a very long list of reasons why I find the country so appealing. The rural areas and beaches are beautiful, and the country is extraordinarily rich with history. High-tech start-up companies and the economy are thriving, and many new infrastructure developments, including a train system, are underway or have been completed recently. Tel Aviv is lively with trendy restaurants and night clubs, posh hotels, and a beautiful Promenade that runs along the Mediterranean Sea. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

The Future of 3D Printing

December 2, 2017

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,CAD/CAM/CAE,event,future — Terry Wohlers @ 09:39

Like many, I’m intrigued by the prospects of the future. For 30 years, I have put thought into the developments and applications of additive manufacturing and 3D printing—terms that are used interchangeably. For most of this time, Wohlers Associates has focused its consulting, speaking, and publications on 3D printing technology. We are proud to have worked with 260 client organizations in 26 countries, with more in the queue.

In recent years, we have been asked to give even greater thought and consideration into what the future might hold. We believe that 3D printing will lead to far more product variety, coupled with entirely new types of products, many that are unthinkable today. Generative design and other software tools will contribute. Product inventories will shrink as companies transition toward cost-saving, digital inventories and on-demand manufacturing.

Biomimicry is a fascinating field that will inspire many to produce 3D-printed products that are lighter and stronger with enhanced performance characteristics. Our industry has barely scratched the surface of the almost endless list of possibilities. The opportunity is to learn from nature and then apply it to design for additive manufacturing. If I were to begin an advanced degree program today, it would focus in this area.

For the 13th time this year in a public setting, I will present thoughts and ideas surrounding the future of 3D printing. If you would like to be a part of the discussion, attend Inside 3D Printing at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. I speak at 9:00 am on Monday, November 4. I hope to see you there.