Siemens PLM is developing an online collaborative platform to bring together on-demand product designers and 3D printing production vendors in a global marketplace. The platform is designed to provide a community capable of connecting all members of the 3D manufacturing community – from design to production – to “maximize resource utilization and access additive manufacturing expertise,” according to Siemens.
By linking part-buyers to micro-factories, the platform would let members find on-demand 3D part production where-needed across the world. The platform will also include collaborative capabilities to help streamline the co-innovation process and accelerate the adoption of 3D printing as a mainstream production method for industrial parts.
The platform will provide an online ecosystem made up of members – qualified by Siemens – that come from a variety of disciplines, including product designers, job shops, part buyers, 3D printer OEMs, material suppliers, expert services providers, and micro-factories. Members will be able to connect with other members to initiate co-innovation of products using the software tools for additive manufacturing.
A Three-Legged Market
Siemens envisions three aspects of the marketplace: additive manufacturing design, part production, and consulting. “There are three legs to the additive manufacturing platform. One leg is additive manufacturing end-to-end, so we can take a design and bring it to the world of additive manufacturing by reimagining or reshaping the design so it can be put together in a more manageable way. That’s the software,” Zvi Feuer, senior Vice President, manufacturing engineering software at Siemens PLM, told Design News.
Feuer emphasized that the marketplace will connect industrial buyers with industrial providers. “The second leg is the platform shares the knowledge we have at Siemens with those who need printed parts and those who make printed parts – real parts, not toys,” said Feuer. “Parts that can be mounted in real products. One of the parts might constrain the landing gear of an aircraft, or it could be spare parts.
As well as connecting buyers and producers, the market will be a place where companies can get consulting support for design, materials, or production solutions. “Third leg is consulting. We want to help companies to onboard digital printing into their operations,” said Feurer.
A Vision of Market Optimization
Feuer noted that these connections are already occurring, though informally. Siemens intends to formalize the process. “We’re having discussions with companies who are talking about how to find the best machine for this type of a part. They want to find out whether their part is printable,” said Feuer. “On the other side, we have people who are only using their machines 10% of the time. They have experience with printing and they would like to do more business.”
Siemens is going to vet the participants in the marketplace – more than a thousand of them. “Part of the platform we are building is going to be a certification of the participants. The consulting services will also be an integral part of the platform, and we’ll be working with companies all over the world,” said Feuer. “We would like to achieve a thousand-plus suppliers in the