AM Workbench and Tech2B, both Flam3D members, generate business together
AM Workbench: “Through Tech2B, we receive several assignments”
The Tech2B platform is an online way to connect supply and demand within the manufacturing industry – and thus also interesting for various AM companies. AM Workbench, for example, has already established interesting collaborations through Tech2B‘s platform. Flam3D is also present on the platform as a neutral advisor on Additive Manufacturing. Since its foundation, the network organization has been striving for valuable partnerships to help the 3D printing industry – and also its members – grow. For example, through collaborations with trade fairs and magazines, but now also online with the Tech2B platform: Flam3D members can profitably join the platform with the aim of improving their exposure – and thus also identifying new clients.
Tech2B is an online, cloud-based platform that connects supply and demand of technical parts, machine parts and industrial services to optimize collaboration in the manufacturing industry. Through its platform, Tech2B can provide access to a large network of expertise and capacity options. Connected companies can receive instant quotes, manufacturability feedback, solutions and expected lead time. As a relatively new printing company, AM Workbench’s customer base was rather small and the company had to rely primarily on word-of-mouth or cold acquisition. Now, with the help of the online Tech2B platform, this will become a lot easier.
With their profile, AM Workbench also wants to make 3D printing more widely known among technical companies. Flam3D can only encourage that the two members joined forces to bring the technology to the forefront of the broader manufacturing industry. “The possibilities of 3D printing are sometimes still unknown to many manufacturing companies. They don’t always realize that 3D printing – and the redesigning process that often comes with it – sometimes proves to be more beneficial, practical, or useful for their application. Or at least they hadn’t considered the option yet. This is the kind of mission work that we at Flam3D are committed to on a daily basis, and we do it in a variety of ways. For example, by connecting supply and demand. That the Tech2B platform wants to connect the 3D printing industry with the broader manufacturing industry online by facilitating 1-to-1 business, we see as an enhancement to our services.”
You can read more about why AM Workbench took up the Tech2B offer in the interview below between Tech2B and the company:
“Just recently at Tech2B we responded to a request for milled plastic parts. We explained to the applicant that this can also be done with 3D printing; it is much more cost effective and gives more possibilities in design. This morning we got the message: the order goes to us!”
Tom Willemsen started the 3D printing company ‘AM Workbench’ at the end of 2020 – together with his fellow student Dennis Pentinga.The company specializes in ‘Fused Deposition Modeling’ (FDM) printing. Expanding the client base was difficult at first, but the Tech2B platform proved very helpful: “We see it as our mission to make 3D printing more known to technical companies, we want to prove its power by showing very nice examples. Tech2B helps with that.”
How did you guys get started with 3D printing in FDM?
“Dennis and I founded AM Workbench at the end of 2020. We knew each other for some time already, we studied mechanical engineering together at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. Dennis was already an entrepreneur in 3D printing when we decided to work together. We discovered that 3D printing in FDM is still very unknown to many engineering companies.”
“We noticed that there is a lot of latent need for 3D printing, although more and more companies are discovering that it is a lot cheaper but also gives a lot of design freedom. However, our customer base is still rather small, we had to rely on word of mouth and cold acquisition until now. Thanks to Tech2B, that’s a lot easier.”
How do you do acquisition on Tech2B?
“We discovered that on the Tech2B platform there are not many direct requests for 3D printing jobs, but there are indirect ones. So, among other things, we respond to milling requests: we look at what kind of product it has to become and ask the client for data sheets, to see if it could be achieved with 3D printing.”
“We are trying to make the technique more known this way; 3D printing is unfortunately not yet ‘top of mind’. Most technical companies only think about milling, turning, and drilling while 3D printing is becoming more and more competitive: the offer is getting wider and the techniques better. We also try to be at the forefront of this and follow new developments in the 3D printing industry.”
How do you try to get ahead?
“We have one of the newest printers in the field of SLA printing: a Formlabs Form 3. It works with UV light, which cures layers of liquid at a very high resolution. This allows us to move a little more towards high temp (high temperature) and higher accuracy. Very precise. But we don’t just offer 3D printing as a technique, we also have an engineering service.”
“As a start-up ourselves we are still searching, we work for different sectors such as the medical industry and technical consulting firms. For example, we are experimenting with an alternative to adapters that were first made of stainless steel, 3D printing of PETG with carbon fiber is cheaper and lighter. But we also print scale models for a technical company, which wants to look at the possibilities of hoisting and lifting.”
How did you divide the roles among yourselves?
“I’m a Sales Engineer and Dennis is a Product Engineer, but those are just labels. We both have a technical background and one of us had to handle customer contacts. I wasn’t born a sales person, but I’m doing my best and so far it’s going well.”
“Dennis is more concerned with the product engineering, he mainly does the technical aspects. But I do think along, the name Sales Engineer says it all. I notice that customers also like it that I can substantiate my advice. The fact that you are a technician yourself gives them a bit more faith.”
That Tech2B can lead to interesting collaborations was also demonstrated when AM Workbench got in touch with the British company MyMaskFit through the platform. “At one point we saw an order come by where they were looking for the injection molding of a certain design. Because the requester -MyMaskFit- was still in the concept phase, we sent the question whether our 3D printing techniques could offer a good alternative. With this 3D printing solution, the applicant is not immediately stuck with an expensive mold, but rather a flexible solution where the design can still be adjusted after the prototype. We have since sent several prototypes to Wales and the collaboration is still in full swing!”
How is Tech2B otherwise working for you?
“The Tech2B platform works great, you can communicate with other companies very easily. I work a lot with Jaap Waalen, he is also open to improvements. I recently passed on a few points of feedback, which were solved within two weeks. So, they are very customer-oriented.”
“I even got a call the other day from a colleague who had found us on Tech2B, the company is also active in 3D printing but in other techniques. So, we can complement each other nicely. That’s another good thing about the Tech2B platform, it ensures transparency and therefore more effective collaboration. I’m curious to see how it all develops!” Would you like more info on AM Workbench or the Tech2B platform? Then be sure to take a look at the website. PS. Flam3D members can register for free on the platform for the first 4 months. Without any obligation and without any purchase commitment afterwards. On the platform you can also indicate your membership of Flam3D.