Our next interview of our series 5Questions took us virtually to Tokyo, Japan. We spoke to Masahiko Inada, who co-founded Kabuku with Masahiko Adachi. They are pioneering cutting edge 3D printing technology with their services.
Rinkak, the first Japanese marketplace for 3D printed designs, is also a part of Kabuku, but the team of Masahiko Inada is at the forefront of so many other areas of the 3D printing industry. With their heart at software and artificial intelligence, Masahiko´s company is also a leading expert in the area of management software for 3D printing services with rinkak MMS suite.
How did you first make contact with additive technologies or 3D printing?
Masahiko Inada: First of all, thank you for interviewing us! As one of the top tier industry media, it’s our pleasure to share my thoughts with 3Druck/3Printr.
I grew up in Eastern Osaka where many traditional factories are located; since childhood, I have really enjoy making or hacking something around this environment. My undergraduate major is electronic engineering and postgraduate is artificial intelligence. In school days, I learned about 3D printing technology and used it for prototyping. In addition, Masahiko Adachi (my venture partner) also majored in artificial intelligence and when we were students, Internet and Open Source were very popular. Since source code could be released, we started to think about if someday manufacturing technology will be no more dominated by big corporates. We believe 3D printing technology is going to be the key for setting the world of manufacturing free.
In which industries do you see the most potential for your product line? Has additive technology already entered industries you didn’t think of?
According to what I’ve seen, 3D printing cost is still high; that’s why it tends to be applied more in aerospace industry, medical industry, and defense industry. I consider that this industry is still staying at the introduction stage. As the patents for SLS, SLA, and FDM are expired, more companies such as Canon, Toshiba, Ricoh and the likes entered this field for making 3D printers. Some of the industrial printers became 90% cheaper than what they costed 3, 4 years ago. Many technologies such as printing speed and materials also improved, so manufacturers can bring in more quality 3D prints to the market. At this moment, I see a great potential for mass customization to my product line. Besides, manufacturing industry such as automotive and electronics or entertainment industry such as game, movie, wedding, etc. are businesses that I didn’t think of. The overall market is expanding rapidly.
How would you describe the connections in the 3D printing ecosystem (hardware, software, materials,…)? Is one part of the ecosystem that is more important than the others?
My venture and I would consider that the 3D printing industry is highly related to Industry 4.0 and IoT; regardless of hardware, software, or material of this industry, all of them are equally important to create the supply and demand for the ecosystem.
At Rinkak, we are aggressively enhancing our service platform of both demand-side and supply-side for development needs of the digital manufacturing ecosystem. We continuously provide innovative digital manufacturing solutions such as Rinkak Mass Customization Package, that we provided to Toyota i-Road project [Link] or 3D Printing Avatar Solution to Dragon Quest of Square Enix [Link] for the demand-side to generate more market needs and inspire people to put their plans into reality. We also seamlessly enhance our services of digital manufacturing management service that helps more than 220 3D printing service and other digital manufacturing suppliers across 30 countries to provide quality 3D prints efficiently to respond market needs. We grow with digital manufacturing ecosystem and solve problems we found during the real practices so each part of the ecosystem is equally important to us!
What do you think will succeed in the end. Will 3D printing be used through services or will people use 3D printers at their workplaces?
It might be possible that people will use 3D printers at their workplaces; but there is also a possibility that phenomenon won’t happen as the complexibility of 3D printing technology is still underestimated currently. That’s also one driver to grow 3D printing service market. That also explains why Rinkak remains the focus on Rinkak 3D Printing Manufacturing Management Service, an all-in-one solution for 3D printing services to better manage their business.
Other than that, in traditional manufacturing ecosystems, most of the manufacturers still adopt closed innovation or have some black box of production; however, according to my personal observation on this ecosystem, open innovation will be an absolute trend; through the seamlessly efforts for service innovation and renovation of every player of the digital manufacturing ecosystem, many new markets will be created.
In the long run, it’s very likely that people can produce quality products for daily use with good quantity by a simple one click easily. That is also why I stated a Kabuku vision to democratize manufacturing world. As a matter of fact, through the Rinkak x Toyota i-Road project [Link], it had showed that 3D printing technology could reduce product development time effectively to nearly 1/4 of the development time. I believe that digital manufacturing ecosystem is going to be connected to Industry 4.0 tightly and revolute our daily life.
What are the next steps for Kabuku. Can you tell us something about your future plans?
In Q3 of 2015, we smoothly completed our Series A fundraising [Link]; in Q4, we will be focusing on global market expansion for Rinkak service platform. Our main product will be Rinkak 3D Printing Manufacturing Management Service, a cloud based service with all key features for 3D printing bureaus. We are also hiring professionals globally to showcase our wide offerings across a range of categories as well as to nurture new business. At the same time, we are also seeking strategic global partnerships. With these steps Kabuku will become a capable citizen of the world of digital fabrication! Thank you again for interviewing me!
If you are interested in more news about Kabuku you can find them here in our news section or on the homepage of Kabuku, Rinkak and Rinkak MMS.
You also can find more 5Questions-interviews of other industry experts.
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