Stratasys Ltd., a maker of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology, has appointed a new chief executive officer.
Yoav Zeif will take the helm in middle February, with current Interim Chief Executive Officer Elchanan Jaglom continuing as chairman.
Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Stratasys, Inc. manufactures rapid prototyping machines that produce physical models from computer designs using fused deposition modeling technology.
At Netafim, a micro-irrigation company, Zeif was president of the americas division and head of product offering and chief commercial officer. He was also senior vice president of products and marketing at Makhteshim (now Adama Ltd.), a global crop-protection company. Since 2018, he’s been a partner in the New York office of McKinsey & Company.
“Stratasys has led the expansion of the 3-D printing industry for more than three decades, but the potential impact of this transformative technology across all industries is just beginning,” Jaglom says. “Yoav brings the strong combination of leadership and global operational experience to fuel our next stage of growth. We are confident that as CEO he will advance our offering and further our vision to reshape the world of design, prototyping and manufacturing.”
Although engineers and designers have benefited greatly from the introduction of computer-aided design, they still need a physical copy in order to check the viability of their ideas, Jaglom says. Designers would spend time making models by hand. With the introduction of rapid prototyping machines, such as those made by Stratasys, CAD designs could be turned into a prototype in a matter of hours, available in a variety of materials.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology relies on a high-speed robotic arm and an extruding head, in effect a glue gun, to spray melted thermoplastic filament. Relying on CAD coding, the gun moves over a platform, plotting small dots of plastic to create a model from the bottom up in a thermally controlled modeling chamber.
Although Stratasys continues to make high-end products, the company has enjoyed success with 3-D printers that cost less than $25,000, making the technology available to a much wider range of customers, including schools. Because the machines require no special venting or chemical post-processing they are also suitable for office use, Jaglom says.
With Zeif’s responsibility spanning dozens of global geographies and multiple lines of business, Zeif delivered growth rates significantly higher than the surrounding market, Jaglom says.
Stratasys pioneered and continues to power the additive manufacturing landscape, enabling companies across virtually all industries to build and improve their businesses through 3D printing technology,” Zeif says. “In particular, thanks to its outstanding innovations and application engineering, it is clear that Stratasys is poised not only to reshape product development and prototyping but also to transform supply chains and manufacturing through efficiency and personalization.”
Stratasys was founded by the husband and wife team of Scott Crump and Lisa Crump. In 1988, Crump decided to make a toy frog for his young daughter using a glue gun loaded with a mixture of polyethylene and candle wax. His idea was to create the shape layer by layer. He then thought of a way to automate the process, spent $10,000 on digital-plotting equipment, and devoted weekend hours to the project.
The couple founded the company in 1988 and in 1989 he patented FDM technology.