Techniplas Prime is the only one-stop shop automotive design-to-manufacturing service that instantly connects engineers and designers to the optimal manufacturing solution at the best price across a wide range of capabilities worldwide.
The Airbnb of Auto Manufacturing
Avi Reichental | Techniplas
What was the genesis of Techniplas Prime?
Techniplas Prime was originally conceived as an e-manufacturing platform by Techniplas Founder and Chairman George Votis over five years ago. It was designed so that manufacturers could electronically order the parts they needed according to their specifications from local factories who couldn’t provide the scale or certifications that larger, more established companies could offer. With Techniplas Prime, car manufacturers have the capacity to order parts more quickly, efficiently and cost effectively while suppliers that would otherwise be unused can now offer their services.
This is why I call Techniplas Prime the Airbnb of auto manufacturing. In the same way that people can find a place for the night at a lower price without going to a hotel, auto manufacturers can find local part manufacturers to provide parts at a lower cost without going to a larger, more expensive manufacturer that is perhaps located farther away.
It was a great invention that served clients well and has enabled the production of 40 million parts per year for BMW, Daimler, Ford, and other top-tier auto manufacturers. That’s the equivalent of 1000 truckloads of car parts being produced per month – all without opening a single new production facility.
I had the thought of combining the platform with 3D printing and AI-assisted generative design to make parts that could be made lighter and using less material. By doing this, Techniplas could deliver customized, lightweighted parts featuring complex designs that would not otherwise be available through conventional manufacturing procedures.
How does Techniplas Prime work in conjunction with 3D printing and generative design?
When a customer enters the specifications that need to create a part, the measurements are processed by Paramatters (a Techniplas partner) and their CogniCAD system which autonomously generates lightweighted designs using artificial intelligence. CogniCAD takes the CAD file and inputs, and within 10 to 20 minutes, depending on factors like file size, manufacturers get a ready-to-print file in STL format that is optimized, lightweighted and designed for additive manufacturing. Engineers can also run a post design finite element analysis to make sure the part that CogiCAD designs meets all the load and performance requirements. Once approved, we begin the 3D printing processes to make the parts and deliver them to the customer.
Who is Techniplas Prime ideal for and what advantages does it offer?
Techniplas Prime is the only one-stop shop automotive design-to-manufacturing service that instantly connects engineers and designers to the optimal manufacturing solution at the best price across a wide range of capabilities worldwide. Car manufacturers now have access to smaller companies around the world who had been held back from being able to supply original equipment parts simply because they lack the scale, manufacturing systems and certifications to work with auto manufacturers. Techniplas Prime enables a whole new supply chain for car manufacturers with local manufacturing facilities close to where they operate, whether they are in China or South Africa or anywhere else in the world.
Auto manufacturers use Techniplas Prime to obtain parts quickly that are designed to meet their exact specifications, several of whom are looking for ways to lightweight parts to reach their weight-based goals. Given growing public concerns of climate change, governments around the world are enforcing stricter emissions and fuel-efficiency standards which is forcing car manufacturers to lightweight cars to minimize CO2 emissions. Previously, there was a push to use lighter materials, such as aluminum, but we’ve reached the limit in making cars lighter this way. By using AI-generative design, parts can be made up to 40% lighter, meaning higher fuel efficiency and lower fuel emissions.
What size of orders and types of parts can Techniplas Prime deliver?
We supply plastic injection molded parts in very interesting niches like more complex and hard to manufacture window trim and gaskets, active grill shutter systems, air water separation systems and interior illumination structures. That also includes more complex assemblies that optimize performance of heating and cooling in the car and cognitive lighting systems that are embedded, starting with simple illuminated build plates and moving up into illuminated surfaces in the cockpit. Techniplas Prime delivers 1000 truckloads on a monthly basis and typically fulfills orders for its automotive OEM’s for the entire lifetime of a vehicle platform, which typically lasts five to seven years.
Are there a limited number of materials available for manufacture?
Techniplas Prime is capable of working with all supply-chain approved injection molding qualified thermo plastic and UV curable plastics. More recently, Techniplas Prime began active exploration and piloting of additive manufacturing platforms in particular higher speed SLS, multi-jet fusion and ultra-fast stereolithography. In these cases, the company is working with leading automotive OEMs to converge on their already approved standards for process and materials.
What is a typical turnaround time for an order?
Most of the Techniplas Prime orders follow standard automotive OEMs’ order release and take down requirements. In the ordinary course, once a vehicle platform is launched, Techniplas Prime will be integrated into the supply chain requirements of the OEM and be expected to deliver daily and weekly quantities as required. With its new additive manufacturing on-demand capability, Techniplas Prime keeps standard industry lead times of five to seven days.
How do manufacturers and part-makers sign-up to use Techniplas Prime?
About Avi Reichental
Avi Reichental established XponentialWorks in 2015, after serving for over a decade as the president and CEO of 3D Systems. Under his leadership, 3D Systems became a global leader in the industry, ranking second in Fortune Magazine’s list of the fastest growing tech companies in 2013, and 13th on Forbes World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies in 2014. As a pioneer of 3D printing technology and a leading authority on exponential tech convergence, Avi’s expertise is sought out by institutions around the world, including numerous 3D printing companies. His leadership roles include CEO of Techniplas Digital, Chairman of Nano Dimension, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Nexa3D, and Executive Chairman of NXT Factory.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow
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