Meet the team: 3D printing’s Dan Curtis
If you have a 3D printing question for us at Laser Lines, the fabulous Dan Curtis is ready to assist with anything you need to know. Let’s find out a bit more about him…
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work at Laser Lines.
My background is in 2D printing, much of which has been in the digital space in recent years. I’ve seen the printing industry evolve so much during my 30-year career, and there’s no doubt that 3D printing is the future. The opportunities are limitless.
Most recently, I worked for Hewlett-Packard as an application specialist; training customers up on new equipment and guiding them through the smooth integration of new technology into their existing systems and processes. The skills I’ve honed over the years are highly transferable to my customer services role with Laser Lines.
I’m often the first point of contact for anyone making enquiries so it’s important that I can quickly assess and understand a company’s needs then direct them to the right person or department to have those needs met.
Who are the customers you’re working with? Does Laser Lines have a ‘typical’ customer?
I handle over 30 first line enquiries a week, via phone and email, and we cover the whole of the UK and the Republic of Ireland so our customers are often based in far flung corners of the country. They’re also from a wide range of sectors so I address each set of requirements in turn.
Our central England location is a plus because we can service customer accounts anywhere from the north coast of Scotland to the most southern tip of Cornwall, and everywhere in between, from our central hub.
What do you feel are the most important aspects of your customer services role?
In essence, when a customer enquires about a Laser Lines product or service, they want to talk to someone who understands their needs and can offer them a solution, in a timely fashion.
Relationship building is a key part of my role. Laser Lines is known for maintaining excellent working partnerships with its customers so it’s important for me to continue to provide the level of support they’ve become reliant on. Within my remit, I’m always looking for opportunities to develop new service contracts.
And what’s your personal approach to this?
It’s a bit of a cliché but I’m a people person so I use my interpersonal skills to put the customer at ease. I’ve always been good at taking a helicopter view of a situation; I can look at a process, spot any bottlenecks and offer problem-solving solutions.
I think customers are looking for empathy, reliability, consistency and accessibility, and I’ve been really impressed with Laser Lines since I joined the team so I can confidently say we deliver on all of these.
What sort of applications of 3D printing technology do customers enquire about?
As you would expect, we do get unusual requests – some of which raise a smile – but, generally, the technology is used for applications in the medical profession, assembly lines, product design and/or architecture, engineering and aerospace.
A customer with a need for rapid prototyping or short production runs will find it’s initially cheaper and quicker to use our 3D Bureau service than invest in their own conventional industrial machinery, in order to produce the products in-house.
Of course, once production volumes become so great that it is viable to buy their own 3D printing equipment, 3D Bureau customers are in a position to benefit from preferential rates, thanks to their existing relationship with Laser Lines. Equally, customers who are lucky enough to have too much work for their existing 3D printing equipment can rely on our 3D Bureau for support during their busy periods.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for 3D printing?
As well as being a Stratasys Platinum Reseller, Laser Lines also sells and works with MakerBot and SLM Technology systems so we have the ability to work with a wide range of materials. These include plastics like PLA, ABS and nylon; coloured, transparent, rigid and rubber-like polymers; and metals and metal alloys, so there really are infinite possibilities.
A lot of people don’t realise that 3D printing has been around for some 20 years. The concept had something of a revolution five years ago and there’s much more to come, I’m quite sure.
I’m particularly excited about medical applications. I think we’ll see some phenomenal developments in this area in the future.