Ruben Wauthle started his career at LayerWise in Belgium (now 3D Systems) in 2010 as Medical Application Engineer and obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from KU Leuven on the topic of selective laser melting of porous titanium and tantalum implants. In 2015, he joined FMI Instrumed in the Netherlands where he started and managed the additive manufacturing division. Ruben returned to 3D Systems in 2017 as a director within the healthcare business unit, and was responsible for all sales in Europe for contract manufacturing and metal printer sales. Ruben is since 2020 co-investor and CEO of Amnovis, a 3D printing contract manufacturing and engineering company. Ruben will be speaking at upcoming virtual event 3D Printing for Orthopedics
When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like?
Ruben: That was in 2007 during my first Master’s year at the University of Leuven, Belgium. I was involved in a student project in which we had to design the complete inner module of a metal 3D printer for the university spin-off company LayerWise. I immediately realized I wanted to be part of this revolution in manufacturing, so I decided to do my Master’s thesis on metal 3D printing and I applied for a job at LayerWise.
What inspired you to start your journey?
Ruben: First of all, it was the technology itself and its endless possibilities that inspired me to start my journey in 3D printing. Next to that, it was the opportunity to start my career at a high-tech start-up company.
Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?
Ruben: I have been in the 3D printing industry for almost 15 years now and I have met and worked with many great people that inspired me, from business owners and entrepreneurs to researchers and colleagues. So naming one or two would not be right to all the others who inspired me.
What motivates you the most for your work?
Ruben: Doing something that matters and creates added value for others. One of the best examples is the innovative implants that we 3D print and that eventually help patients.
What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Ruben: The MDR (Medical Device Regulation) in Europe is currently preventing many companies from developing new and innovative medical devices, which is problematic in my opinion. The only thing we can do as a contract manufacturer is making sure we have all documentation and validations ready to make it as easy as possible for them to use additive manufacturing for their new devices.
What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Ruben: Unlocking the full potential of 3D printing. The applications for which 3D printing is used today are only the tip of the iceberg. At Amnovis, we believe the full potential of additive manufacturing can be unlocked through thoughtful innovations, which we intend to enable for utilization in regulated and high-tech industries.
What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Ruben: Whatever you end up doing, make sure you like it and most importantly: have fun.