17. August 2022

In cooperation with Enable 3D, the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing is showing companies the benefits of involving their customers directly in the production process.

As a field of application for additive manufacturing, co-production (consumer production) still often plays only a subordinate role. However, there are numerous advantages for companies to involve their customers in the production process. The ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, in cooperation with Enable 3D, developer and marketer of designs for additive manufacturing, as well as the Machine Tool Laboratory WZL of RWTH Aachen University, has examined co-production in depth and compiled the results in a Whitepaper. The results are now available to download.

Whether self-service in restaurants, assembling furniture according to instructions or configuring trips online – the concept of co-production is becoming increasingly popular with companies in a wide range of industries. However, customers can also benefit from it; their need for individualization can be met by involving them in the production process and their satisfaction with the end product can be enhanced. Additive manufacturing processes are playing an increasingly important role in this regard. Thanks to their flexibility in the representation of shapes, individualization in production can be realized faster and more economically than through conventional processes.

Manuel Siskowski, founder and CEO of Enable 3D, is already successfully implementing the concept of co-production: “Additive manufacturing is a trend that has already taken hold. At Enable 3D, we let users print out accessories themselves at home in cooperation with tool brands, among others. Nevertheless, our approach is considered unusual in the tool industry. However, we receive encouragement from our customers, the 3D community and awards such as the German Innovation Award in Gold and know that we are on the right track. With our case study in the Whitepaper, we would like to encourage other companies to take advantage of the opportunities additive manufacturing offers.”

A lot of potential through co-production

For Gerret Lukas, head of department at the WZL, as well as director of projects and authorised signatory of ACAM, co-production is associated with a wide range of opportunities: “We focus a lot on industrial applications in additive manufacturing. But where the advantages of additive manufacturing become much more apparent is close to the customers. Making things yourself pleases many people and is always an experience. The approach of co-production certainly requires courage, but also offers a lot of potential to open up new markets and create more proximity to customers.”

The explanations of various scenarios of co-production as well as the presentation of the opportunities and challenges for companies including the voices of experts are available for download in the form of the Whitepaper ” Co-production: Direct-To-Customer through additive manufacturing” on the ACAM website as well as at Enable 3D. You can find the paper here.