In this issue of Executive Edition, Greg Paulsen, director of applications engineering at Xometry, discusses additive manufacturing and service providers. Recently Xometry announced the acquisition of MakeTime, another on-demand manufacturing company.
What is your corporate outlook over the next 12-18 months?
We are constantly excited about the growth we see in our company and our customers. With our partner network of over 2,300 professional manufacturers, we are able to fulfill custom jobs in additive, machining, sheet metal, molding, and more. Over the next year and a half, we anticipate more demand from our customers for custom additive options with the latest technologies. We want additive to be seen as another way to make a part, and we want to make it accessible and easy to order.
What new initiatives are you looking at over the next year?
Just offering additive services isn’t enough. With the pace of technology and the maturing 3D printing industry, we are dedicated to build-in design guidance, a knowledge base, and engineering support to help users decide on the right technology for their product. One of the great features we have on our instant pricing site right now is the ability to see design-for-manufacturing feedback per technology offered. It shows up on the 3D view of your CAD file and is even available with our free SolidWorks and Autodesk add-ins. We also know that many customers are looking for what makes sense to prototype, and how to transition to scalable production. Sometimes this requires moving technologies, sometimes you can stick with the same process and move to thousands of units. We are looking to implement technology which makes these decisions transparent and intuitive.
What issues are keeping your customers up at night? How are you addressing those areas?
Additive manufacturing is well known for prototyping, but the minute it is considered as an end-use option there are about a dozen questions raised. These typically revolve around mechanical performance, environmental resistance, quality assurance, and cosmetics. The good news is that our team at Xometry does additive-for-production every day and has learned valuable lessons that we are able to pass to our customers. Sometimes this is consulting about a project with our application engineers, sometimes it is additions to our FAQ and web content. It is very important to Xometry that what we offer is always professional, repeatable, and has a reliable data sheet. This is where industrial additive trumps consumer machines; we can make a part today and guarantee the same level of quality on re-orders and high-quantity production.