Updated: Jun 17, 2020
New Business Models in Manufacturing Technology Part 3 of 5.
With the emergence of many new business models in the manufacturing technology (MT) ecosystem, AMT spoke to several member companies to learn about their paths to success. We learned that each of these innovators identified a need in the market that was not being met by existing solutions and turned this into a business opportunity. Another recurring theme was that the company founders or senior executives had broad sets of skills that combined proven business experience with technical know-how in order to develop a successful market strategy.
Xometry co-founders Randy Altschuler, CEO, and Laurence Zuriff, CFO, did not hail from manufacturing backgrounds, nor did most other company executives. However, they saw the potential of improving the sourcing process in the manufacturing industry. Launched in 2014, Xometry developed an innovative new business model for manufacturing sourcing – manufacturing as a service (MaaS) – to enable cost-effective and efficient sourcing of high-quality custom parts.
The company developed a proprietary software platform to enable customers to instantly access the manufacturing capacity of a network of over 4,000 manufacturing facilities through its internet interface and receive instant pricing, expected lead times, and manufacturability feedback. There is a very low barrier to entry – the minimum requirement is a 3D CAD model.
Xometry’s carefully vetted partner network of manufacturing facilities offers comprehensive manufacturing services, including CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), HP multi jet fusion (HP MJF), digital light synthesis (Carbon DLS), stereolithography (SLA), PolyJet 3D, urethane casting, and injection molding. And the network includes ITAR-qualified, AS 9100, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and NADCAP facilities.
Through its integration with artificial intelligence (AI) and neural network learning, Xometry’s MaaS platform analyzes part geometry and open capacity to find a market-efficient price that benefits both customers and manufacturing partners. It also collects valuable data on product features customers are requesting and the most effective production techniques that it shares with company partners through its recommendation engine.
To date, Xometry has received $118 million in VC investment from several companies. Even very large companies such as Bosch and Dell, BMW, and GE – entities with extensive and finely tuned supply chains – have found value in the company’s MaaS platform.
“Our business model creates additional value for manufacturers who are no longer subject to the limits of their existing local suppliers, and it benefits smaller machine shops who are no longer limited to working with customers in only their local area,” said Greg Paulsen, director of application engineering, Xometry.
“We are using machine learning to accumulate a growing mountain of data about ‘best case’ costs and manufacturability for parts. This data did not exist before, and it opens up all sorts of new business models. For one, our manufacturing platforms have the capability to take advantage of underutilized manufacturing capacity globally,” continued Paulsen.
Xometry has grown rapidly since its founding and recently acquired German company Shift, which has an established manufacturing network in Europe. This will accelerate Xometry’s international expansion into 12 new countries in Europe.
For more on the New Business Models series:
Read part one here. Velo3D – The industry’s first “SupportFree” manufacturing solution for 3D metal printing, enabling unlimited design innovation by reducing the need for support structures.
Read part two here. 3DEO – Intelligent Layering® technology for serial production, which competes successfully with traditional technologies like metal injection molding and CNC machining in terms of part pricing, material properties, and quantities.
Read part four here. Protolabs – Manufacturer of low-volume, custom, on-demand production parts and prototypes enabled through proprietary software and advanced manufacturing processes that automate much of the expensive skilled labor conventionally required in quoting, production engineering, and manufacturing.
Read part five here. Tangible Solutions – Strategic move from manufacturing AM prototypes for a broad customer base to an exclusive focus on manufacturing class (I), (II), and (III) 3D printed titanium implants for the national market.
Read AMT’s full white paper on new business models here.