From Sea to Shining 3D
Roopinder Tara posted on September 20, 2017 |
Fast moving Chinese 3D printing/scanning company plans on more business overseas.
Shining 3D CEO Li Tao kicks off the international reseller event in Hangzhou, China. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)
Shining 3D CEO Li Tao kicks off the international reseller event in Hangzhou, China. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

"We're just doing a small effort in the world of 3D printing,” CEO Li Tao said, humbly presiding over Shining 3D’s second annual global reseller event. This year, it is being held in its new corporate headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

Those same words spoken by an American would conjure up a couple of 20-something techies with one bright idea between them, hunkered over laptops and lattes in a Silicon Valley startup scrambling for funding.

But “small” in China has a different meaning. Shining 3D is a 680-person firm that already owns much of the China market in 3D printing and scanning. The company has, without the 3D printing giants realizing it, assembled an army of international resellers. A $60 million (estimated) company devotes 20 percent of its revenue to research and development (R&D). But unlike many foreign companies, for whom technology is where it starts and stops, Shining 3D seems devoted to maintaining and growing its sales and marketing team.

While technology is the beating heart of Shining 3D, as is evidenced by the number of patents, the company also places emphasis on sales and marketing. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)
While technology is the beating heart of Shining 3D, as is evidenced by the number of patents, the company also places emphasis on sales and marketing. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

The tech heart of Shining 3Dbeats with its engineers.

“We have some very smart engineers,” Oscar Meza, VP of Sales, said. Hundreds of them, no doubt.

The company is planning global expansion. A Stuttgart office opened earlier this year and an office in San Francisco is scheduled to open in November. “We will have round the clock support for our customers and resellers,” Meza said. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)
The company is planning global expansion. A Stuttgart office opened earlier this year and an office in San Francisco is scheduled to open in November. “We will have round the clock support for our customers and resellers,” Meza said. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

Room to grow. The sun shines over the company’s modern, spacious offices in Hangzhou, China. Built two years ago, the building houses 40 percent of its worldwide staff. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)
Room to grow. The sun shines over the company’s modern, spacious offices in Hangzhou, China. Built two years ago, the building houses 40 percent of its worldwide staff. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

The company is composed of four divisions. While R&D, 3D scanners and dental printers are controlled centrally, the E-Plus division makes the industrial 3D printers, including the metal printers. A Beijing TenYoun division handles metrology and 3D inspection products. An ePrint division was formed to handle an online consumer to manufacturing portal. Regenvo concerns itself with 3D printing of biomaterials.

Shining 3Dsought $70 million funding, which may have accounted for a rapid increase in staff the past two years and the new company headquarters.

Command centers for world domination are in place–almost. Shining 3D plans for round-the-clock support for resellers and customers with three major offices. The San Francisco office opens in November. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)
Command centers for world domination are in place–almost. Shining 3D plans for round-the-clock support for resellers and customers with three major offices. The San Francisco office opens in November. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

But Hangzhou gives every indication of being a great place to be based. Clean and orderly, it resembles Singapore more than any other Asian city. A tech sector houses many startups and established tech companies, notably Ali Baba. If you’ve not heard of Ali Baba, you need to get out more. It’s valuation exceeds $300 billion, two thirds the valuation of Amazon and more than eBay, making it one of the world’s biggest ecommerce sites. Parks and lakes help make it China’s “fifth most popular city” for tourists, according to one proud staffer.

Shining 3D seeks more international success. An office in Stuttgart is operational and this November, an office in San Francisco will open.

"Having offices in San Francisco, Stuttgart and Hangzhou will give us a round the clock operation,” Meza said.“Our network of resellers will be able to provide service and ship units quicker.”

The gate to the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, digitized with the help of Shining 3D EinScan. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)
The gate to the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, digitized with the help of Shining 3D EinScan. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

The Products

Shining 3D has been perfecting its game 13 years, most of it devoted to 3D scanners. We reviewed a couple of their desktop scanners earlier this year (see Affordable, Easy Desktop 3D Scanning). While the desktop units are good for scanning small parts (examples have invariably been action figures), the handheld scanners offer the most potential for the more lucrative industrial market. Held up like a steam iron, the handheld units can scan larger objects. The reflected light from the EinScan captures point data with each wave, and with enough waving, a 3D model emerges on the screen.

 
The EinScan-Pro is listed with a $5,000 price tag, much less than competitive professional 3D scanners. (Image courtesy of TechMed3D.)
The EinScan-Pro is priced much less than competitive professional 3D scanners.

Shining 3D seems to be succeeding in cutting the price of professional handheld scanners to a fraction of the competition.

Scanning BIG Objects

The gate to the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, digitized with the help of Shining 3D EinScan. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)
The gate to the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, digitized with the help of Shining 3D EinScan. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Models can be entire buildings, or as we saw, 30-foot gates to a UNESCO World site. Parts of the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist monastery in India, have been preserved digitally. So sensitive to the preservation of the site were its caretakers, surfaces were not allowed to be touched, according to Nitin Jhamb, an EinScan reseller who oversaw the digitizing project.

The Metal Printers

We toured a factory where Shining 3D makes 3D printers, those that use plastics, a line of printers that are for the dental industry, and the biggest ticket items, the 3D metal printers. The clean, well-lit assembly area had several printers in assembly and test mode. The biggest, and most expensive, were the metal 3D printers. Shining 3D metal printers are as big as closets and require a dedicated power supply. Behind what looked like bulletproof glass and bomb-disposal chambers, lasers sinter metal powder into final shapes.

From the smallest, the EP-M100T, good for gold teeth or jewelry, to the largest, the EP-M250, which can make parts of titanium and other metals up to 250 x 250 x 300 mm.
From the smallest, the EP-M100T, good for gold teeth or jewelry, to the largest, the EP-M250, which can make parts of titanium and other metals up to 250 x 250 x 300 mm.

The metal printers bear labels of E-Plus, but we are told E-Plus is a brand of Shining 3D.

The metal printers are currently only for the domestic trade, confirmed by the build instructions on the monitor that are only in Chinese.

Domestic for now, anyway. We expect by next year’s reseller gathering the metal printers will be in English.


Recommended For You