Anthony Cloet, Business Developer for Thrinno’s metal 3D printing software, told 3DPrint.com, “Just like numerous others in this industry, we believe that lack of knowledge about A.M. is one of the big bottlenecks for fast growth of the industry. A more concentrated effort is needed to help companies with unlocking the full potential of this technology. We feel this is currently not present enough in the industry, even though consulting companies such as Additive Minds (EOS), Am-Power, and Gramm Online are addressing this. Currently service bureaus take on this role as a means to do more printing. With our platform we want to offer a gateway for companies to engage in additive manufacturing for metal. Whether they are just curious to learn more or want assistance with a design or assistance in screening components in their assemblies for additive manufacturing potential, we want to be that first frontier. We have a preliminary partnership program in place, but are working on expanding that for interested parties. Both for consulting companies as service bureaus who want to engage in more consulting.”
“Our goal is to drive as many people to the platform as possible and create value for everyone involved. That also means providing the customer with as much choice in suppliers as possible,” Cloet told 3DPrint.com. “Thus we don’t limit the supply to our current partners and the customer always…has the choice. For suppliers we lower the barrier as well. Supplier contacts will be automatically added to the database, although it is advised they claim their profile and update it. No technical requirements to join at this point in time.”
A company that wishes to use the platform needs to make a profile that fits its business and machine processes, then import and analyze its STL files before a quotation, complete with design and price feedback, is automatically generated. By taking advantage of the platform’s proprietary matching system, users can choose to be matched with the optimal supplier, then request price quotations from the suppliers they most want to work with. Filters for suppliers are available for materials, geographic location, type of industry, experience, print lead times, and printable dimensions; users can also request that suppliers sign an e-NDA before accessing the 3D printable file online.
Suppliers will eventually be able to connect their own system with the Thrinno Marketplace platform, in order to receive real-time information about products that could fit onto their build plates, but for now, they can still benefit by having the option to “top-up” build plates: any extra object added to a build plate that’s already fully priced means more profit for the supplier.
“For the parts that can be scheduled in at ‘leftover build plate space’ we are in different phases of integration with different service partners,” Cloet told us. “EOS is also currently testing our software…and we are almost done with an optimal 2D nesting algorithm that perfectly nests in the part on the build plate while taking into account the dimensions of the existing parts. Our current software Thrinno Fast Quote already allows the user to specify the occupation rate of the build plate and takes into account height differences in oriented objects when allocating costs to components.”
Companies will be able to access a bidding system on the platform to determine the most competitive price, along with learning to understand the design process better. All platform users have free access to the design check toolbox, so they have the ability to check on any designs currently being 3D printed at no cost, and the platform also offers professional design optimization. In addition, companies will be able to ask AM consultants for help in evaluating the functional design aspects of metal AM parts. All of these functionalities being available in one place truly makes the Thrinno Marketplace a one-stop metal AM sourcing platform. However, Thrinno also hopes to learn some valuable information once the platform goes live.
“Currently experts in this industry have mapped several current areas of adoption for metal printing. (e.g. aerospace, custom dental implants, car parts, jewellery etc etc). We hope to be in that perfect position to figure out…where rising demand is coming from,” Cloet told us.
Discuss in the Thrinno forum at 3DPB.com.