Pilot Experiments

SmartZavod: paas service model, as the key tool in acceleration of 3d innovations in rubber & plastic industry

  Ukraine and Lithuania

  Manufacturing Innovation Valley – DIH

Experiment objective

Our experiment promotes the AM solution that allows much faster penetration to industrial SMEs in rubber & plastic industry in 2 countries of Eastern Europe (Lithuania and Ukraine), using the experience as well of the more developed country, bringing such benefits to the market:

  • Lower initial capital investment
  • Easy-to-use almost zero-knowledge solution
  • Lower operational expenditures on maintenance

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) want a simple implementation of a 3D printing project. Their main barriers in widespread adoption of 3D printing are typically as followed i) knowledge gaps in the application; ii) high entry-costs iii) space requirement for several devices and iv) use of different material groups. With the SmartZavod CHE1 and web platform these barriers can be quickly solved for the first time.


Implementation Solution

During the experiment, various activities were performed to achieve the objectives. The following activities were conducted:

Technical activities:

  1. Refinement of the hardware and middleware components of a hybrid, fully automated 3D printer (reaching the next TRL level). Launching 3D printing and automatic post-processing processes on the printer, conducting a series of experiments (SmartZavod further SZ).
  2. Optimizing the moving system is the most important subsystem of the printer, which is responsible for the accuracy and quality of the manufactured parts (SZ and DIH).
  3. Working on the PAAS

Business-related activities:

  1. Regular customer interviews and development of business and use cases that allowed for a more accurate determination of the value of the product, service, and SZ technology for clients during the DIH World experiment.
  2. Market and competitor analysis concerning the concentration of SZ on hybrid and digital technologies after receiving feedback.
  3. Conducted consulting sessions with the DIH concerning the upgrades, which should have been done in the PaaS platform.
  4. Visiting Manuvalley innovation days in 4-5 day of April , signing the letter of gratitude with 5 enterprises, and as a result, we’ve negotiated on planning use cases of our equipment and PaaS platform, which will lead to new projects in the future.

Results Obtained

  1. Improved Service Delivery: SZ was able to improve its service delivery through the use of the DIH as a sales agent. This helped SZ increase its reach and provide services to a wider range of customers. The implementation of a service delivery network near to the end consumer also allowed for better user feedback gathering and client outreach. SZ was also able to gather user feedback through the DIH’s network, which allowed for product improvements and better customer service.
  2. Customized Product Development consulting: The implemented effective product development lifecycle helped SZ develop products with greater efficiency and in a shorter time. The SME was able to customize products according to client needs, which allowed for greater customer satisfaction.
  3. Reduction in Development and Service-delivery Time: SZ was able to reduce the time it takes to develop new products thanks to the implemented product development lifecycle management, additional FEM and MBS simulation tools, and PrintandGo software package modules for continuous production management, scheduling, and maintenance.
  4. PaaS service model repositioning: SZ was able to gather enough customer feedback to change the way we approach PaaS, in specific, middleware between equipment firmware and end-user software is more vital. We adopted new software solutions sourced by our partner, tested them internally for the production use, so that to be able to offer more complete PaaS services externally.
  5. Upgraded the printer to the TRL 7: through the implementation of the most resilient hybrid manufacturing processes, more accurate printing, and automated post-processing through optimization of the moving system, which was achieved through the work of the technical team in Germany with the support of the DIH laboratory of Robotics and digitalization technical team.

Impact of the experiment

Hybrid manufacturing equipment requires lower initial investment in the equipment, and makes production of end user customizable products cheaper, due to usage of different manufacturing processes in a single automated machine, which was previously not possible.

Additionally, after the experiment SmartZavod experienced a significant shift in its market segments. The customer base was expanded and an adequate market for new products and services was found.

Overall, the implementation of the experiment allowed the expansion of the customer base and found a market for new products and services. By adopting different customer relationship strategies for each market segment, SmartZavod was able to build strong relationships and increase customer loyalty.