Dr. Alexander Nam

Head of Software & Hardware Development

Advanced Software: The Backbone of EnvisionTEC’s 3D Printing Expertise —

After working as a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute, Nam came to EnvisionTEC in 2011 for a simple reason.

He viewed the German-American 3D printer manufacturer as a place where he could put his research studies, along with his Ph.D. in industrial mathematics and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, to practical use.

“I saw an opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience to work at an innovative company,” Nam said. “I saw people working on innovative product.”

Nam came to EnvisionTEC with a diverse background and education that gives him a unique and practical approach to problem solving. Born in the Soviet Union, Nam grew up in Kazakhstan and is a Russian citizen. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Novosibirsk State University (NSU) in Russia, where he concentrated his studies on applied mathematics and mathematical modeling. He went on to earn a master’s of science degree in mechanical engineering at Yeungnam University in South Korea and a Ph.D. in mathematics at the Technical University Kaiserslautern / Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics.

During his time as a scientific researcher at Fraunhofer, from 2007 to 2011, Nam focused much of his research on 3D simulations and finite element analysis software for fiber structures.

He joined EnvisionTEC in June 2011, when the company was much smaller than it is today. Back then, the company had just 30-40 employees and Nam said he was energized by his ability to work on everything and have a direct impact on a multitude of products.

“Our software is part of our product,” Nam explained. “The contribution is essential.”

When 3D printer machines are slow or builds don’t work out as expected, oftentimes that problem has more to do with the software that controls the 3D printer, rather than the mechanics of the 3D printer itself.

Many people believe 3D printing is as simple as sending the digital file to the printer, but Nam said it’s never that easy. “There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes,” he said, related to timing, processing, and controls.

For example, EnvisionTEC’s sophisticated and patented approach to shifting pixels at the surface edge of build objects and grayscaling with its DLP technology — all of which is controlled by sophisticated software — is crucial to the superior surface finish delivered by EnvisionTEC 3D printers.

Nam said EnvisionTEC’s runaway success in the dental market, where tight accuracy and superior surface finish are required, should be highly attributed to the software that controls the machine mechanics.

“We made it possible,” Nam said of the software team.

After a period of rapid growth globally, EnvisionTEC has more than 200 employees globally, and Nam has 18 people on his team, including about a dozen software engineers in Kiev, Ukraine.

Today, that team is busy working on a variety of projects, such as improving the user interface on the company’s proprietary Perfactory software to systems that provide live monitoring and controls of most EnvisionTEC printers.

“We’re expanding quite rapidly,” Name said. “We are making all of our software the best.”