“Three heads are better than one,” so the saying goes. Set up in 2016 as an incubatee of HKSTP’s Incu-Tech program, Planet Tron Technology has embodied this philosophy by drawing on a wide range of innovative talent with different professional backgrounds and areas of specialisation. Through researching and developing large-scale 3D printers and three-dimensional cutting devices, the company is helping to revolutionise the operations and work processes of many industries and deliver multiple benefits along the way.
Leveraging the combined strengths of a multi-disciplinary team
The Planet Tron team was brought together by different groups of mutual friends. They share the belief that automation presents tremendous potential for many industries. 3D printer and engraving machines especially have the power to bring about radical changes. That’s why they were keen to work together and apply their expertise to contribute to a brighter future.
There are engineers, industrialists, entrepreneurs and high-flying graduates from universities in the UK, US and Australia. They have pooled their expertise in artificial intelligence, biomedical technology, industrial design, mechanical engineering and 3D printing. The combination of experience and skills means the company is strong both in scientific research and business acumen.
The company has a host of proprietary products, including:
- 3D FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer: Melting thermoplastic materials into fluid form and then fashioning precise 3D objects layer by layer. The applications are extensive.
- 3D laser printer: Using fluid or power materials, it can execute highly sophisticated printing jobs and can be used for making jewellery, precision parts, watches, clocks and electronics.
- CO2 laser cutting and engraving machine: With a patented auto-focus system, it can be used to engrave wood, plastic, leather, fibre, paper and more.
- CNC (Computer Numerical Control) engraving machine: Paper or data design created by dedicated computer software can be inputted into the engraver, at a high precision rate. It can engrave a range of materials, such as metal, stone, PVC board, ABS board, acrylic, imitation stone, rubber and resin.
Break into new markets with full confidence
Planet Tron’s team believes that many products in the market are flawed in one way or another. They may be priced too high or the performance falls short or the service is inadequate. In response, the company sets the prices of its products at half those of its competitors, while offering greater performance and tailored optimisation for clients.
It also offers fast and professional support services for enterprises and schools in the Pearl River Delta region. The team hopes that with these attributes, the company can break into different sectors quickly and build up its own brand.
Planet Tron’s chief operating officer Karl Ng points out a number of trends that are positive for the company. For instance, he says that companies in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China increasingly desire personalised design. This is one way the company hopes to make its brand and products more memorable.
3D printers and engravers can be used for prototyping before large-scale production, as well as directly producing a small batch of products to meet niche demand. This has become one of the key procurement objectives for manufacturers of jewellery, watches and clocks and electronic equipment.
Healthcare is another major sector that Planet Tron has been targeting in recent years. Karl says the company’s 3D printer can produce all sorts of medical models, surgical tools and implants. As well, the company can provide a virtual 3D medical imaging platform.
These solutions will contribute to raising the work quality and efficiency of medical professionals. For example, doctors can make use of the products to have a trial run before a major surgery, which will help bring about better treatment results and patient care.
Developing an enriched STEM educational environment
The momentum for promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is creating another market for Planet Tron. The company has introduced a “Smart Campus Upgrade Programme” for Hong Kong’s primary and secondary schools. Using smart control systems, the Internet of Things, multi-functional educational modules, programmable teaching tools and STEM educational machines, it has set up “smart multi-purpose classrooms” for local schools.
Karl emphasises the company is not only providing STEM teaching materials but also a holistic teaching environment. Everything from a white board to storage cabinets and the teacher’s desk in a smart classroom can be fitted with IoT, NFC, Bluetooth and network modules, complete with automatic upgrade functions, which even students can control through programming tools. When used in conjunction with 3D printers and engravers, such classrooms can deliver even more comprehensive STEM education benefits.
Expanding in Greater China with HKSTP’s help
Planet Tron has been based at Science Park for nearly two years. The company believes that the brand association and business network offered by HKSTP have been the most valuable form of support.
Karl says that business partners and clients were visibly impressed that Planet Tron was a Science Park partner company, which helped facilitate business negotiations. Through the incubation programme, it has established partnerships with local schools, as well as companies and organisations in Greater China.
Thanks to HKSTP’s networking support, the company is now looking to set up a joint venture with a major technology company in China to develop products for the mainland Chinese healthcare market. As well, its 3D printing solutions are being trialled at a Shenzhen hospital. The company has established a firm foothold in the Greater China region to launch into a rapid business growth curve.