AM Flow

AM-Flow has chosen to outsource engineering and production of AM Vision 2.0. The result: A shorter time-to-market and a system that is highly suited for serial production.

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AM-Flow is a start-up that aims for the 3D-printing market. This company creates intelligent solutions designed to simplify largescale 3D-printing processes. Up until now, various systems such as the AM Vision 2.0 have been developed. 

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The challenge

The challenge was to design and produce the AM Vision 2.0 system as quickly as possible within the desired quality standards.  

AM-Flow created a functional model (FUMO) of the AM Vision 2.0 system. In this prototype, the software took center stage. The FUMO proved the system’s functionality; the search algorithm performed perfectly. However, the hardware was in need of further improvement. In addition to this, the system had to be designed in such way serial production is quick and efficient. 

Potential customers were interested in the prototype and recognized the added value it brings to their factory. The customers lined up and they were eager to receive the product as quickly as possible. This happening turned realization of quick time-to-market into a highly important subject.

Stefan Rink – CEO AM-Flow

AM-Flow is specialized in artificial intelligence and machine learning. We developed a unique search algorithm for the sorting of 3D-objects, it is a direct answer to market demand. But the competency to design a system that is perfectly suited for serial production isn't present at AM-Flow. To make the desired quick time-to-market happen, we decided to search for a partner who can help us.

The solution

To design a system that functions optimally, AM-Flow has chosen to outsource engineering and production of the complete system. By integrating the process of engineering and production and outsourcing it to one party, a significantly shorter time-to-market was achieved.

The collaboration between AM-Flow and MTA combines the core competencies of both companies, this makes for the best result. Whereas the most important competencies of AM-Flow are in the field of software Research and Development, MTA is highly proficient at advanced mechatronics and the industrialization process. 

During the engineering phase, various topics were addressed to reach the desired end-result: 

The transfer of knowledge during the development phase enables careful documentation of requirements and wishes in the field of mechanics, electronics and software. To complete this process, mutual trust was of utmost importance. By being open and sharing knowledge the system’s quality can be guaranteed. The feedback of MTA’s industrialization specialist during this phase resulted in the creation of a system that is highly suited for serial production. Clearly, total costs and desired time-to-market were kept in sight during this stage. 

The AM Vision 2.0 will be integrated into the end-user’s existing architecture. Therefore, it was key to engineer a universal system that can function in conjunction with various existing conveyor belt systems. The basic set-up of the AM Vision 2.0 took this into consideration, making sure the standard system with preset dimensions can be serially produced. For example, by adjusting the number of cameras in a machine, the slightly customized standard system can be created for specific clients. Also the software that is used in AM Vision 2.0 can easily be connected to the conveyor belt’s software system, which ensures the sorted items are guided toward the right direction. 

The European and American market have different quality certifications. By ensuring the machine meets both European CE-certification standards and United States’ UL-certification standards, the system is ready to be launched in any country. 

Stefan Rink – CEO AM-Flow

In close collaboration with MTA, we were able to produce a system that directly answers market demand. Moreover, the system can be sold anywhere in the world. MTA's expertise when it comes to mechatronics and industrialization has ensured engineering and production were integrated into one efficient process.

The results

A shorter time-to-market

Being an experienced system supplier, MTA is able to integrate engineering and production through industrialization, creating an effective process with short lead times. Therefore, customers receive their AM Vision 2.0 relatively quickly. 

A system that is ready for serial production

Including optimal manufacturability and reproducibility. Because of this, production may be scaled when market demand increases. Potential risks of this possible scale-up have been mitigated during the engineering phase.

The best integral cost price

MTA determines which parts are critical to achieve an optimal production process. Moreover, MTA makes use of an international supply chain that contributes to a competitive integral cost price. 

Quick time-to-money

This is related to the short time-to-market. Generating turnover as quickly as possible is vital for the long-term viability of a start-up. Quick time-to-money opens up possibilities such as investments in further company growth or the development of innovative products with differing applications.