GKN Sinter Metals, a global corporation dating back to the 1930s, is the world’s largest producer of precision metal powder products. The company has roughly 6,000 employees in more than 30 facilities on five continents; to say that it’s a large, successful company would be an understatement. However – and I know I’ve said it before – even the biggest and most successful corporations, particularly in the manufacturing industry, need to be careful to stay on top of the latest technologies if they want to remain prolific.
Those technologies include 3D printing and other digital tech, and GKN Sinter Metals is embracing these next-generation manufacturing methods with enthusiasm. It’s hard to be in the metal powder business without being involved with additive manufacturing, but GKN Sinter Metals is taking it another step forward with a new e-commerce platform called InstAMetal. The platform makes it easy for customers to order custom metal 3D printed parts simply by uploading a file. Users can upload their 3D models from anywhere around the world, at any time of the day or night, and receive an instant quote.
“Our aim is to make the ordering of metal AM prototypes as easy as placing an order on Amazon for our customers,” said Dr. Peter Oberparleiter, CEO of GKN Powder Metallurgy. “The ordering process is simple and intuitive. Customers upload 3D models of a product directly to the new online platform, so we make AM accessible for everybody.”
In addition to ease and accessibility, InstAMetal also offers support in the form of tools that help customers with fast feasibility analyses of the parts they need. No matter how unusual the part or prototype, the platform completes the analysis quickly and generates the quote instantaneously for a true push-button ordering process.
GKN introduced InstAMetal at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference in March, and it was well-received by those in attendance. The platform was developed in partnership with 3YOURMIND, and the two companies are now preparing for the beta launch, which will happen next week at the RAPID + TCT event taking place in Pittsburgh from May 8 to 11. Companies that sign up as beta testers will be able to use the platform in their workplaces and provide feedback that will help the creators as they prepare for the full launch, which is expected to be in the fall.
Through InstAMetal, GKN Sinter Metals is hoping to reach new customers and further advance the industrialization of metal additive manufacturing by making it more accessible. Despite the easy, automated nature of the site, however, GKN still maintains individual customer consulting as one of its priorities.
“We want to use the time we gain through the more efficient ordering process and the shorter time spans to interact with our customers – for dialogue, developing joint strategies and also for individual consulting on complex topics,” said Dr. Oberparleiter. “The time is much better invested in these areas for both our customers and GKN.”
If you’re interested in becoming an InstAMetal beta customer, you can sign up here. If you’ll be at RAPID, you can also test the system live at GKN’s booth, #1837 – and don’t forget to say hello to 3DPrint.com if you see us on the show floor, as well!
Discuss in the InstAMetal forum at 3DPB.com.