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Advancing the AM Industry through Intentional Open Innovation

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Authentise is an automation software company dedicated to streamlining and managing the production process for multiple manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing. To learn more about its Open Innovation strategy, we spoke to Simon McCaldin, Open Innovation and Strategic Business Development lead at Authentise.

3DPrint.com: So, what is Authentise’s Open Innovation team? What does it do?

Simon: Authentise’s Open Innovation team is a team within our organization dedicated to driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing and wider digital manufacturing and engineering. We achieve this by leveraging external resources, such as publicly funded research grants, to pursue longer-term improvements and radical changes that go beyond the immediate needs of our clients. Our team works closely with clients and partners to understand future trends and needs to create innovative solutions with added value.

Authentise’s Digital Design Warehouse for managing digital spare parts. Image courtesy of Authentise.

3DPrint.com: But many other companies apply for public funding? What makes you different?

Simon: That’s a valid point. What sets us apart is our intentional approach to innovation. We have deliberately structured our team as a client of our own technology team. This separation allows us to think beyond the immediate demands of our clients and explore groundbreaking possibilities. By actively seeking grant funding, we can dedicate resources and time to pursue radical innovations that may not have an immediate payoff but can have a profound impact in the long run.

Additionally, our team members bring diverse expertise and a fresh perspective to the table. For instance, I, as the Open Innovation lead, have extensive experience in identifying new product and service opportunities, while Dr. Vicente Rivas, our Open Innovation Project Manager, excels in collaborating with various stakeholders to align our solutions with market needs.

3DPrint.com: If clients aren’t driving the agenda, how do you know what’s being built is important?

Simon: While client collaboration is crucial, we understand that true innovation often lies beyond the confines of their immediate demands. Grant funding also allows us to work with those clients and other partners, which gives us deeper insights into problems and allows us to develop more comprehensive solutions that have a greater impact – achieving a true win-win scenario.

We’ve always led the field in understanding where the market should go. These grants give us the opportunity to find partners to pursue the vision with and accomplish the aim of creating more sustainable products, where they’re needed, when they’re needed, together.

3DPrint.com: Can you give us examples?

Simon: Absolutely!  Authentise has run 5 grants in the past few years. They vary from relatively small ones such as the EU one that helped us integrate the German company nebumind to display third party quality assessments directly within Flows-AM to larger ones.

An example of a larger one is the SAMRCD project, which is led by Authentise, partnering with TWI, Photocentric, MPI and ICD, that has been awarded a competitive grant by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) “Transforming Foundation Industries” challenge (delivered by Innovate UK). This allowed the development of Guidelines, a TCT Software Award finalist toolset which enables users to create “If-This-Then-That” rules based on engineering & production data and is accessible to users of Flows-AM, Authentise’s end-to-end connected workflow engine for additive manufacturing. Getting a client to pay for this kind of game changing development would be challenging – but now we have it, this is a great way to manage manufacturing operations, across multiple process steps.

3DPrint.com: What difference can an intentional approach make to the industry in the longer run?

Simon: One of the key advantages of grant funding is that it allows us to focus on market externalities that would not typically be carried by customers. For example, we are able to focus on sustainability initiatives that may not have an immediate return-on-investment but are essential for the long-term viability of our company and the industry as a whole. The goal is not only to allow our customers to ‘see’ the environmental impact of their manufacturing operations, but also combine this with workflow decision support features to help minimize negative environmental impacts.

In essence, an intentional approach to open innovation allows us to chart a roadmap for the industry, extending beyond immediate customer demands. By leveraging grant funding and collaborating with consortiums, we can pioneer innovations that transform additive manufacturing, ensuring its sustainable growth and positive impact. Our dedicated team, combined with our expertise and dedication, positions us as trailblazers in driving innovation for years to come.

If you have an idea for collaboration where data-driven workflow management solutions could be the answer – our team would love to hear from you – drop us a mail at openinnovation@authentise.com

About Simon McCaldin

Simon McCaldin is Open Innovation and Strategic Business Development lead at Authentise – looking to develop new products and services, working with a wide range of customers, suppliers and stakeholders. He has worked for over 15 years in Open Innovation and launched 100s of development projects and programmes seeking to improve manufacturing technologies and approaches across a wide range of sectors and industries.  Expansion of the capabilities of the Authentise solutions is his goal – aiming to offer partners the best experience and added-value services possible.

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