Ashkelon Desalination Plant, Ormat Industries Ltd, & Objet Geometries

This morning it was time to go to the south of Israel and visit some really interesting companies. One of them being the Askelon Desalination Plant. Eli got a little lost today but have no fear he got us exactly where we needed to be in the end.

When we arrived those of us with internet sell service looked at how close we were to Gaza. We asked ourselves on the bus if we are this close to Gaza why would Israel want a desalination plant here since it is supposed to be such a volatile area. We decided to table our question and wait untill after the presentation.

This plant was built-in as a BOT (Build Operate Transfer) between Violia, IDE and the Israel government.  The contract that Violia and IDE have to run it expires in 2027.

It was a very interesting set up they have because Violia is a french energy company and IDE is an Israeli company that has been dealing with desalination for the past 40 years.

Some fun facts:

  • 15 Percent of Israel’s Water Source Comes from this Plant
  • 30 Percent of all Israel’s Water comes from desalination
  • In 40 years 80 percent of Israel’s water will come from desalination
  • Government is paying 80 Cents Per 250 Gallons
  • Consumer is paying 2.00 per 250 Gallons
  • Pump takes up to 60 percent of plants energy
  • They have the lowest price in the world for desalinated water

Their Process:

  1. Pumping Sea Water
  2. Pre Treatment
  3. High Pressure  Boosters
  4. Sea Water Reverse Osmosis
  5. Post Treatment

After we learned about the plant and the desalination process it was time for our tour. We were instructed that there were no photos to be taken and we adhered to that as hard as it might have been for some. We saw all the filters and how they work. We saw the different process in which they come in from. We also learned that they add limestone to water to help make it less pure so the body can process it better. On the tour Oshik also showed us their own power plant. They create their own energy from the process of desalination and that helps power the plant. They actually make excess energy and sell it. This makes them more efficient then most desalination plants because they never have to wait on oil especially if there is conflict with the Arab state they are getting it from.

One our tour was over we were allowed to try the water which was fun especially after hearing about it for so long. It tasted great!!

Now it was time to leave Ashkelon and make our way to ORMAT Industries. Here once we arrived we were met by a nice lady who showed us to the conference room where Founder Lucien Bronicki was waiting for us. He is interesting because he started tis business because he wanted to build a sustainable company. The fact that he started this kind of company 47 years ago is mind blowing.   He said it started from being in Israel where they were a small country with big country problems.

The inital focus of his company was on Solar Power/Solar Energy.  They then moved onto Geothermal pools which utilizes the ground and water to help naturally heat and cool creating energy between the two. (I have to admit that the exact process still confuses me a little so sorry if anything here is not 100 percent)

He said now a days they own 1/3 of their plants and for those plants they sell the energy. The other 1/3 is privately owned now which at one time used the same BOT system mentioned above. The last 1/3 are owned by other companies I believe and then they operate them. There were also other kind of partnerships mixed in there as well.

Mr. Bronicki also was very interesting because he told us about how they started vocational training schools to help the surrounding area in which his company is located. This way they would be able to recruit some of the students to work for them but in addition help better the locals for jobs in an industry. They are said to have a very long waiting list and that the students that are expected are highly qualified but they obviously cannot higher every graduate. So he sees this more as a way to give back to the community instead of a branch of his company.

After hearing the very interesting lecture by Mr. Bronicki it was time to head to Objet! This I have to say was one I was looking forward to!

As we were heading over to Objet I was still so curious how they print models!? I mean it does not make sense how they can print a prototype and one that can be made out of similar material to the one that will be produced.

As we headed to Object Justine gave us a briefing about the company and the types of products it had. When we went into the meeting I was fully prepared and excited to understand how this all works.

In the begging the explained the process and I was still very confused. Then I raised my hand and said I am sorry but I still just do not understand how you can print these models and have them come out as 3-D Objects.  Igal Zeitun was the one who answered my question and I am so glad that I did ask. He explained it like a regular print but instead of ink the material coming out of the machine is a liquid version of whatever type product they want. (Ex Liquid rubber, plastic Etc) Then as it is slowly put on piece by piece there is a lamp that dries the material creating slowly an actually figure. Once he was done explaining this to me It was mind-blowing how innovative this product is. I could not even wrap my head around the idea of what they were doing before he explained it like that.

Finally after all the explanations and descriptions of the company it was time to actually see them in action. This was great because it was exactly what Zeitun said it was. It was amazing to see as well the difference phases and different type of machines that they had going. He explained to us that they only have these machines printing for purely R & D purposes. They do not do any of the model printing themselves. They only sell the machines to companies that would need to be able to make these kinds of models. ( And so far this business model has been good to them)

Fun Facts:

  • 1998 Started
  • 2001 Europe Office Opened
  • 2005 China Office Opened
  • 2006 US Office Opened
  • 2009 Material Plant Moved to new larger premises
  • 2011 Launched Objet 260 Comex- First office compatible multi printer
  • Industries largest per capita in R & D
  • 100 distribution Centers World Wide
  • Proven Great Customer Service

Three Types of Prints:

  1. Conceptual
  2. Design Verification
  3. Functional

Once it was time to leave it was sad because this was such an amazing visit but I was so happy that I had gotten the chance to visit Objet. Both Gilad Bet-Halevi and Igal Zeitun were so nice and so hopeful with all of our questions. So far this has been my favorite visit!!(But I still have loved the others)

Now it was time to head back and as always Eli was waiting for us!!

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