Belgium-based startup company Thrinno has developed the Thrinno MarketPlace sourcing platform for metal additive manufacturing (AM). The objective of Thrinno MarketPlace is twofold, namely to: enable companies to obtain the most competitive price for their projects globally, at any time and based on real-time manufacturing capacity; and assist metal AM service suppliers in finding projects that they have the relevant skills for and capacities to accommodate.
If three suppliers are asked to quote for a job, receipt of three very different prices can be expected. Moreover, if the same suppliers are asked to quote for the same job a month later, a total of six prices that vary considerably is not uncommon. The reason for this is that different customers’ objects are printed on the same build plate and therefore, the fuller the plate, the cheaper the price of each object. Thrinno MarketPlace aims to overcome this by offering companies a means of finding excess capacities on build plates across the globe and scheduling their metal AM jobs at favorable prices.
The platform allows for the filtering of suppliers according to geographic location, materials, experience, type of industry, printable dimensions and print lead times. Companies can either independently search for and request quotations from suppliers they feel confident about or they can take advantage of Thrinno’s proprietary ‘matching system’ to source a supplier that ‘matches’ their requirements. Once a supplier has been decided on, they can be asked to sign an e-non-disclosure agreement (e-NDA) prior to being given access to the job file.
Additionally, Thrinno MarketPlace offers free metal AM design checks, enabling companies to assess their designs’ printability as well as gain a better understanding of the design for AM (DfAM) process.
The platform also serves as a gateway for companies less knowledgeable about metal AM to call upon the expertise of seasoned industry consultants. Companies may, for example, seek guidance in assessing the functional aspects of their designs or screening components to establish their suitability for metal AM. Through offering this connection, Thrinno hopes to encourage more companies to engage in metal AM and thus accelerate its adoption.
Thrinno has plans in the near future to incorporate a ‘bidding system’ into Thrinno MarketPlace, allowing companies to post their urgent jobs and suppliers with excess, short-term capacity to bid on those jobs. It is said that the system will benefit both parties; not only will companies get the most competitive prices, but suppliers will also profit from topping-up their build plates. If a build plate is fully priced—meaning the cost of machine runtime has been allocated to parts already on that build plate—any additional objects are almost solely profit.