Founded in 2013, trinckle was the first online 3D printing service provider in Germany. Since then it has refined its expertise and built up its software platform paramate. trinckle equips its partners with the software to leverage the full potential of 3D printing and realize innovative business opportunities.
We want our paramate platform to become the widespread tool to automate design processes and enable customization. Therefore we open it up to the community out there and invite everyone to join our journey. Last weekend we hosted our first paramate hackathon in Berlin with great support from our partners EIT Digital and Ultrahack. We were amazed what happened…
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Call for hacking: opening paramate
As you might know already, paramate simplifies and automates the design
process for user-specific custom products – which is highly relevant in 3D printing applications. This design automation can be relevant for any industry: whether patient specific prosthetics, mechanically optimized industrial components, or personalized jewelry. We developed applications for companies like Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn, Ford, Schmalz or Protiq to accelarate their AM business.
But paramate is neither some kind of a magic trick nor a black box: it is a software platform anyone can use to create automated design processes and innovative products. We wanted to test how hard it is for external developers to apply our cloud software in a limited time period.
So we sent out an open call for interested developer teams to join our very first hackathon! In other words: a challenge to use our software platform and create an amazing AM application in just 48 hours (yes, forty-eight hours).
8 teams, 30 participants, 48 hours
We received numerous interesting applications and selected 8 teams and 30 highly motivated young developers from 7 nationalities to Berlin. Combined in teams they brought a perfect experience mix: Computer aided design (CAD), Coding (script), Web design (java script) and Product design. Impressive!
They would work together in teams for the next 48 hours. Our partner EIT Digital was a fantastic host: providing unlimited food, drinks and even sleeping accommodation. A big thank you for this!
The perfect hackathon atmosphere
During the weekend we saw a spirit and atmosphere that you have in mind when you imagine the perfect start-up story. We saw stand-up-meetings, pitch sessions, flipcharts and sketches, breakout sessions and – of course – a lot of Mate tea.
Most important for us: the teams dived into paramate right away and it did not take long to see the first results. The teams worked on various projects to turn ideas of customizable products into reality. Our team of trinckle developers who were available as support, were discussing at eye level with the participants to create the best solutions.
The big highlight of the weekend were the final project presentations. We were thrilled to see the advanced applications that the young teams had achieved with paramate in just 48 hours. This was particularly true as they had taken their first look at our system just one day before.
Our jury selected their 3 favourite applications and the winning teams received a total prize money of 5000€. It was a tough choice for our jury but in the end three teams stood out. We could write separate articles about each project, but we would like to briefly introduce you to the three winners below.
We are looking forward to see more people working independently with our paramate platform. More than ever after this weekend!
Winner #1: “Customized camera caps”
These three guys developed a configurator for very specific and low volume camera caps. The caps are created in no time by specifying a diameter.
An additional attachment clip for saftey reasons and a logo and QR-Code for individualization can be added to the cap.
Winner #2: “arm Hero”
These guys want to develop a prosthesis for children. This alone is a cool project, of course. But not enough: They want to equip the prosthesis with superpowers – like a integrated ball-throwing mechanism. This way they hope to make it easier for the children to perceive the prosthesis as something positive. Additionally the size and color of the prosthesis can be configured.
Winner #3: “customized camera handles”
Last but not least: This team focussed on cameras as well. They developed a camera handle that is not even and straight. This handle is adapted to the customers hand by specifying its length and its width. Optional mounting holes and patterns can be added to the handle.
The TCT Awards honor the most innovative applications within Additive Manufacturing. trinckle is nominated as finalist for the second time in a row in the category “Industrial Product Application”. Its inductor configurator – developed for PROTIQ GmbH – illustrates how industrial companies can create scalable business models using AM, mass customization and advanced design automation software.
Spread the word!
In the age of Industry 4.0 you are faced with shorter product life-cycles, higher levels of specialization and higher individualism. Consequently, the digital factory of the future needs to be very flexible in terms of small series and even single item production. One example for industrial products that have a high level of specification and are needed in low quantities are copper inductors.
Why copper inductors are a perfect use case for additive manufacturing
Copper inductors are tools used for metal processing in manufacturing industries using induction heating. Their coil geometry must adapt as precisely as possible to the shape of the particular metal workpiece to reach the best efficiency levels. The fact that additive manufacturing manages complex geometries including windings and ducts quite easily and considerably cheaper than conventional production processes like bending and brazing, makes copper inductors a perfect use case for additive manufacturing per se. PROTIQ, a Phoenix Contact Company, that has become a pioneer in industrial additive manufacturing produces these customer-specific inductors using selective laser melting for copper.
Business case bottleneck: manual design
This seemed to be a promising business case if it had not been for one remaining hurdle: the design process of those individual inductor geometries. Generating those design variations in a conventional CAD design process comes along with many manual and recurrent design tasks. This time- and cost-intensive workflow would have killed the business case for PROTIQ.
That was when Dr. Ralf Gärtner, Managing Director of PROTIQ, met us and learned about our paramate software platform. Based on paramate’s cloud-based architecture we developed a web-based configurator for inductors that enables customers to intuitively configure and order customized geometries in a few minutes.
“The inductor configurator was tailored by trinckle to meet the exact requirements of our industrial customers. Users can simply select the required basic shape and determine parameters such as the number of turns, the coil diameter or the positioning of the connection plate according to their own application.” Dr. Ralf Gärtner, Managing Director PROTIQ GmbH
“trinckle was the perfect technology partner for us and their paramate software solution enabled us to realize a fully scalable AM e-commerce business – with optimized products for our customers at lower costs.”
Dr. Ralf Gärtner, Managing Director PROTIQ GmbH
The configurator: How does it work?
The inductor configurator is a plain example for design automation based on paramate. Instead of manual design steps in conventional, highly complex CAD tools, we use a parametric design approach and make it accessible in intuitive web applications.
Around 20 open parameters give full flexibility to the user to adapt the geometry exactly to his or her needs. At the same time, we take all interdependencies into account to ensure the functionality and printability of the geometry.
There is no need for CAD experience or knowledge regarding AM-ready design. Configurators based on paramate eliminate the complexity of traditional product development. PROTIQ’s customers are integrated into the design process.
Moreover, prices of the inductors no longer have to be calculated in a separate process step but are shown instantly within the web application. The copper tools are ready to order. Sending requests and proposals back and forth belongs to the past.
In a nutshell:Customer-specific adaption of geometry for higher performance >20 parameter allow full flexibilityAutomation of manual design tasks: from 3,5 hours to 3 minutes
Reduced design costs of 350 € per unitReduction of time-to-order: from 2 weeks to 10 minutesLive pricing for direct online order
Dr. Ole Bröker, Head of Business Development at trinckle points out: “The end customer, who operates the configurator on the PROTIQ website, benefits from enormous time and cost savings. Compared to the manual design process in conventional CAD systems, which can add up to 3.5 hours easily, the configuration process takes less than 5 minutes. This implies cost savings of around 350 € per piece.
Additionally, the back and forth communication process to coordinate the design requirements, which often lasted for two or three weeks becomes obsolete. Thanks to the additive manufacturing and the automation of the design process, the customer now faces his finished and individually adapted copper inductor in 1-2 weeks instead of 2-3 months.”
Configurable inductors are just the beginning
For us PROTIQ realized a best practice application based on paramate. For additive manufacturing in industrial environments this could be a game changer: the evolution from prototyping to scalable customization business cases with end products. The number of potential business cases is unlimited. paramate itself can be used for design automation in various industries such as tooling, robotics, medical devices, automotive or consumer goods.
Stop wasting your time on repetitive manual design tasks and let paramate’s algorithms automate even complex design processes!