Company News

Israeli Company Selects YBI as First U.S. Customer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An Israeli company that manufactures additive manufacturing systems has selected the Youngstown Business Incubator and its partner, Youngstown State University, as its first customer in the United States for one of its advanced ceramic lines.

XJet Ltd., based in Rehovot, Israel, said that its Carmel 1400 additive manufacturing, or AM, system should be installed by January 2018 in the YBI’s newly renovated additive manufacturing center in Tech Block Building No. 5, the former Vindicator building.

“This technology will put Youngstown and northeast Ohio on the cutting edge of the next generation of AM materials: ceramics,” said Barb Ewing, CEO of the YBI. “With this capability, northeast Ohio companies and researchers will make exponential improvements in products ranging from dental implants to fuel cells and airplane braking systems.”

The project is a result of a business trip Ewing and others took to Israel in January, sponsored by the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation and the Thomases Family Foundation. XJet was one of the companies on the delegation’s agenda to visit.

“When you’re from Youngstown, your never really sure about the level of response you’ll get from places such as Tel Aviv,” Ewing said, since the city has emerged as a high-tech hub that regularly attracts the best and the brightest from around the world.

However, the meeting led to company principals visiting the incubator earlier this year, since XJet was participating in the Rapid Conference in Pittsburgh.

“They got off the airplane and drove straight here, and I didn’t think they expected to find us so engaged here,” she recalled.

The XJet delegation found that the incubator, along with other assets such as YSU and America Makes, demonstrated a deep knowledge and understanding of additive manufacturing technology and decided that Youngstown would be a perfect fit for its new ceramic 3-D printing line.

XJet’s new system features the company’s NanoParticle Jetting technology that enables the production of metal or ceramic parts through a process similar to inkjet printing without compromising throughput or quality, the company said in a release this morning.

Ewing said that Youngstown would be XJet’s beta site for ceramic 3-D printing in North America. Under the agreement, should the operation not develop the desired business within a year, then the YBI could return the equipment to the company.

“We’ll be the only beta site in North America, so we’ll have at least a year’s head start on everyone else,” Ewing said. “This could really put Youngstown on the map.”

During the beta testing period, the focus will be on the research, development and production of ceramic components, Ewing said. Ceramics have pertinent applications in the biomedical and aerospace industries.

Medical and dental implants, for example, are among the products that could be printed with ceramic materials, Ewing said. Ceramics are also ideal for aerospace components because of the material’s ability to withstand high temperatures and its strength.

Polymers and metals are traditional materials used in 3-D printing, and Ewing said she believes that ceramics represents the next class of materials used in additive manufacturing.

“This is one of the few systems that can produce ceramics,” she said.

Brett Conner, director of YSU’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, said the addition of XJet is a perfect fit for Youngstown’s emerging additive manufacturing culture. “It opens up a variety of opportunities in dental and aerospace and other fields,” he said. “It also provides an opportunity to bring a variety of customers through Youngstown, and for key research for YSU and other regional institutions.”

The new XJet just adds to the area’s reputation as a hub for research and development in additive manufacturing, said YSU President Jim Tressel.

“The XJet Carmel 1400 system is central to our plans for making northeast Ohio the focal point of [additive manufacturing] activities in the U.S.,” Tressel said. “The flexibility of the system and the can-do attitude of the XJet team make their solution ideal for our innovative work in advanced manufacturing and 3-D printing technology.”

Rob Gorham, executive director of America Makes, said the addition of this technology serves to strengthen the region’s dedication to advanced manufacturing. “By bringing new companies with new products and services to the region, they are strengthening the mission of America Makes to accelerate the adoption of 3-D printing.”

America Makes, founded in 2010, was the first of the Obama Administration’s advanced manufacturing hubs. The organization helps coordinate partnerships among private and public entities in order to foster research, development and innovation through the use of additive manufacturing.

“The Youngstown Business Incubator is an ideal first customer in North America,” said Hanan Gothait, CEO and founder of XJet. “Ohio has a very rich history of traditional manufacturing and YBI is positioned at the vanguard of new manufacturing technologies and techniques that will drive manufacturing in the 21st century.”

The project is being made possible through the support of JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes job creation and economic development throughout Ohio.

“We look forward to the advancement of this technology, as well as the development of skilled workers capable of facilitating its use in production applications,” said Glenn Richardson, managing director for advanced manufacturing at JobsOhio.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.