3D printing for Saudi manufacturing TEY_post_Namthaja-–-Faisal-ALAMER

3D printing enables our clients to replace their costly physical inventories with digital inventories that can be produced on demand.

Faisal ALAMER Founder and CEO NAMTHAJA

3D printing for Saudi manufacturing

December 15, 2023

Faisal Alamer, founder and CEO of Namthaja, talks to The Energy Year about the reasons behind the company’s creation, how 3D printing helps manufacturers be more efficient, examples of applications that the company has developed and how it plans to gain new clients. Namthaja provides 3D-printing solutions.

What were the reasons behind the creation of Namthaja?
Driven by Saudi Arabia’s vision, Namthaja was established back in 2015 with clear objectives to localise manufacturing and shift from an oil-based economy to a diversified and technology-driven economy. We have realised that 3D printing is a key enabler to achieve these objectives, as it resolves challenges associated with conventional manufacturing, such as high capital costs and mass production requirements.
Since we began, we have experienced continuous growth at an accelerating rate due to the market maturing and client readiness, which we worked relentlessly to nurture since our inception. Our strategy was to start with proof-of-concept projects with low costs to reduce entry barriers and then to gradually build a base of 3D-printable parts for each client, which would naturally create increasing and steady revenue streams.

How can 3D printing help manufacturing facilities be more efficient?
Being able to produce parts on demand and locally is a huge change in how factories think about their operations and supply chains.
Taking the energy sector as an example, clients have very critical operations, and they invest huge amounts to keep them going without interruption. This is usually done by keeping stock inventories for parts that may alter operations if they fail. However, stocking requires high amounts of capital and cannot always practically solve the issue of availability. In many cases a loss of production occurs due to spare parts being unavailable.
3D printing enables our clients to replace their costly physical inventories with digital inventories that can be produced on demand, which significantly reduces down times.

What are examples of applications you have developed?
We are working with electric-submersible-pump manufacturing companies and oilfield services companies in general that have a lot of demand for repetitive components used in downhole applications.
We are also consulting with multiple companies to 3D print skids with composite material that is light and corrosion resistant. This skid will be much more capable of being mobilised compared to a very heavy steel structure. We obtained a contract from an offshore company to 3D print what they call gangways, which are bridges used between vessels. We have made them more efficient in terms of cost and weight.
In fabrication we have good business with sheet metal fabrication companies. They need accessories that are used as brackets or joints to hold metal sheets together. For one of these clients, we produced more than 25,000 parts in the last three years.


How do you plan to bring new clients on board?
We’ll bring new clients on board by being at the core of how companies source their components and spare parts using our in-house digital system that allows clients to plan their parts orders. We believe that in the future systems like this will be as essential as an enterprise resource planning system, such as those of SAP and Oracle.

What are the next steps for integrating 3D printing in your main clients’ facilities?
We’re building a parts database, which we call a digital inventory, and a network of 3D-printing hubs, which we run, operate and maintain at our clients’ premises. We currently have 10 facilities other than our main facility, and we look to have 100 facilities by the end of 2024.

How complex is the process of re-engineering parts that will be 3D printed?
Every part that we do has to be re-engineered completely to be 3D printed. Then we need to go through a lot of design optimisation, iterations and process optimisation. People think that we only take measurements and make the parts. In reality, taking measurements amounts to no more than 5% of what we do. The whole process is very long and requires a lot of innovation.

What is the company’s funding strategy?
Namthaja raised its first funding round in 2021. We are also planning to fund a large expansion in 2023 through a loan from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.
Namthaja is expanding and building an ecosystem of value-added business lines, such as our newly launched company called AM Unique, which targets the construction sector, and Easy 3D, which is an automated 3D-printing platform targeting consumers.
Moreover, we recently started investing in certain products that are innovative and disruptive and rely on 3D printing as a core competitive advantage through our newly established incubator. We find ourselves perfectly positioned to make this move, as we have significant technical capabilities and expertise, and we can create huge opportunities by capitalising on it.

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