My Goal is Rapid Manufacturing

Seiji Hayano

The true beginning of Additive Manufacturing(AM, 3D Printing), widely known as “3D Printers,” was marked by the very first patent application from a Japanese engineer, Hideo Kodama, in 1980. Very few know that in fact over 30 years have already passed since the birth of AM.

My initial involvement with AM goes back to 1986, when I first learned about Stereolithography while working for Mitsubishi Corporation. The following year in 1987, I began my work on development and commercialization of Japan’s first AM stereolithography equipment with Dr. Yoji Marutani, the second inventor of the technology. My earlier involvement with AM include founding CMET, a stereolithography equipment manufacturer, establishing the Japan Rapid Prototyping Association, and developing new equipment at RIKEN. My commitment and passion for improvement and advancement of AM technologies continues to this day.
From an early stage, I had my strong interest on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology which had been developed at the University of Texas. SLS, which is today also referred to as Powder Bed Fusion technology, fuses or sinters materials to build parts additively and enables use of engineering plastics and metal powders that are often used for final production parts.

I left Mitsubishi in 1996 to start ASPECT on November 18th and soon acquired exclusive rights to distribute equipment and materials developed by DTM, a company established with technology transfer from the University of Texas. Ever since, time, my focus has been on research and development of the laser sintering technology.

I began development of polypropylene powder material in 2000 and with support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and research group at the University of Tokyo, began development of the first Japanese powder bed fusion platform in 2003. Three years later in 2006, we released our first Japanese laser sintering platform, the SEMPlice series. To address market needs for further quality improvement above and beyond functional prototyping, we released the RaFaEl series in 2011. The RaFaEl series received the Tokyo Venture Technology Award in 2012 for its improved part accuracy and productivity.

Aspect has also been actively involved in development initiatives sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and have worked on various projects including additively building casting molds and working with titanium and aluminum powder. The experience has fueled us to develop our original metal powder bed fusion platform planned for release in 2015.

A quarter of century has passed since my first encounter with AM. We are now in a midst of an unprecedented worldwide “3D Printing Hype.” My passion and devotion for the advancement of AM technologies has not changed since day one. We will continue to strive to take leadership roles in powder bed fusion technology and to contribute to opening up a new future for the AM community in Japan.

President & CEO Seiji Hayano