3D printing networks have been a feature of the industry for some time. However, like additive manufacturing (AM) as a whole, they may not have been up to the standards of large-scale industrial companies. MakerVerse is a Siemens Energy and Zeiss backed startup that aims to change that and it has just launched the first version of its one-stop-shop additive platform.
MakerVerse describes itself as “a one-stop shop that provides fast and reliable access to advanced on-demand manufacturing services.” Established as a joint venture between Siemens Energy, ZEISS, and capital investors like 9.5 ventures, the firm offers an end-to-end digital platform for manufacturers to source 3D printed parts from a global network of certified, industrial-grade suppliers.
By bringing in experience related to mass manufacturing critical end parts for Siemens Energy, MakerVerse believes it has what it takes to apply this expertise to AM as a whole. We spoke to CEO Markus Seibold to learn what differentiates his platform from other 3D printing networks and services in the industry.
Prior to establishing the firm, Seibold who has been with Siemens Energy for over a decade, where he began as Head of Business & Technology Development for Siemens Gas Turbines. He worked his way to Vice President Additive Manufacturing as the industrial giant acquired its U.K. additive service provider, Materials Solutions.
“When we acquired Material Solutions in 2016, for us, that basically transformed additive from a pure production technology to a business. I was always looking for how we could further accelerate the adoption of additive through the use of new, advanced business models. This now led to a dual strategy: Siemens Energy maintains its focus on advanced tier production with its own printers. MakerVerse is to become the second pillar for Siemens Energy as a digital service business,” Seibold explained.
Specifically, MakerVerse offers players like Siemens Energy access to new technologies, while also benefiting from a digital business model that offers a simple user interface, fast turnaround and lead times, and the ability to offer spare parts on demand on a global scale. One of the core value propositions of MakerVerse to its industrial customers is that MakerVerse will continuously expand its offering of technologies, materials and related post-processing and quality assurance methods. Customers have access to this broad offering at industrial-grade quality without the need to invest their own CAPEX or the need to qualify multiple AM services providers for their distinct needs.
“At Siemens Energy, we didn’t want to pursue MakerVerse as an internal business. We want this to be multi-industry and multi-technology company. That is why MakerVerse was created as a true independent startup, where Siemens Energy is one of the of core strategic shareholders,” Seibold elaborated.
MakerVerse benefits from being an asset-light platform, in that it doesn’t own its own printers but works with a distributed network of certified industrial manufacturers. However, the firm aims to differentiate itself from other distributed 3D printing networks through the standards it puts in place with its suppliers.
Rather than becoming the platform with the most AM providers, the startup works specifically with sufficiently large suppliers with sufficient experience in AM that are able to carry new investments into new technologies. According to Seibold, this means that MakerVerse will be a premium industrial supply chain with high quality suppliers.
Also unlike other distributed 3D printing networks, MakerVerse does not operate on a classical matchmaker system. This isn’t Airbnb, in which a client might look at a supplier, see the pros and cons, and decided to move forward with a service bureau. Instead, a customer orders parts with MakerVerse, who selects the right production partner. This partner may not necessarily be disclosed, but its quality will be guaranteed.
So far, MakerVerse already has a number of European additive suppliers. These are businesses that have more than 10 years of experience with the technology, double-digit revenues, and comply with standard industry certifications. MakerVerse ensures that they conform with its delivery specifications in terms of material data and delivery requirements.
“These are not the mom-and-pop shops that just bought their first printer yesterday and want to be a 3D printing service provider. We are working with additive manufacturing service providers that have proven their track records in the industry and are big enough to continue to invest in the technology,” Seibold said. “We are supply ready. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. And now we work on professionalizing our supply chain and, over time, further growing the supply chain.”
One client that MakerVerse can name publicly is obviously Siemens Energy. In turn, we know that Materials Solutions is one of the suppliers. However, Seibold was quick to point out that the platform isn’t focused on any one segment, such as Energy or Oil & Gas only. Multiple industries where 3D printing parts on demand has high value are a candidate. In automotive, for instance, trucks and buses at the end of their lives, as well as classic cars, could benefit from 3D printed spares. There’s also industrial tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
“Of course, MakerVerse builds on the heritage of Siemens Energy in terms of knowing what it takes to deliver industrial quality, but it’s by design, a multiple industry approach which addresses multiple different industries where on demand platforms can add value,” Seibold said.
As MakerVerse begins its journey, it is focused on meeting its customers’ needs, from advanced part specifications to meeting quality requirements. However, as it moves into a growth phase, the team will deliver spare parts on demand, serial production, and possibly complementary manufacturing technologies, such as CNC and injection molding. It may also explore such ideas as how to integrate the platform with solution providers and services providers which support customers up-stream in identifying potential applications for additive manufacturing.
There are already digital manufacturing providers out there that already serve their customers around the world. However, as the AM industry grows, it is being increasingly populated by industrial giants like Siemens Energy, who not only bring with them a lot of pull but also industrial quality associated with years of global manufacturing. So, while startups like Xometry and Hubs already disrupted traditional supply chains with new digital, distributed production models, MakerVerse may just disrupt these disruptors.
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