• Harry

Final thoughts on formnext 2017

formnext continues for another day, but today is the final day of our coverage. We took this opportunity to hunt for those special stories and solutions that missed our eye so far.

Trinckle and Protiq showed a demo of their solution for customizable inductors. Inductors are used in the hardening of metal part. Each inductor needs to be customized to the part it is supposed to harden. Protiq, a german contract manufacturer is able to produce a well-conducting copper using their 3d printers. This material is great for this kind of devices. Protiq used Paramate to develop a web application that allows their customers to configure an inductor without the need to resort to CAD. Customers can set a few parameters, and the Paramate software builds the corresponding 3d mesh model.

Paramate is developed by trinckle, a german software startup from Berlin. Trinckle focuses on software solutions for additive manufacturing, such as a pricing engine and other tools. Paramate is one of their advanced solutions. It is a toolkit for developing customizable products. Product owners can work with trinckle to make their product customizable through a web interface.

Customizable inductors are exciting for two things: first, it shows once again that the driving force of additive manufacturing as a production technology is mass customization. Starting with rapid prototyping, which can be interpreted as a mass customization application, then onto dental implants, hearing aids and customizable bone implants to finally Carbon3D’s and adidas’ 3d printed midsole, the successful products are for the most part the ones that use mass customization. And second, it is one of the first mass customization solutions that is not a consumer or medical application, but rather a mechanical device for industrial use. These are still rare, as mass customization introduces a degree of freedom into a process chain, which tends to kill efficiency. But in those cases where the benefit of a better fitting part outweighs the drawback of an incomplete or implicit process definition, it is worth the trouble.