Bassetti’s Antoine Jeol on MES and 3D Printing
Antoine Jeol was a co-founder of 3D printing MES company 3DTrust. He sold the company to software firm Bassetti amidst a wave of acquisitions of MES companies. This in and of itself is a part of a bigger M&A trend happening in 3D printing. Due to this, I thought it might be nice to do a kind of post-acquisition autopsy to see how the fledgling firm was doing in the arms of its new owner.
3DTrust is an MES software tool that monitors and lets you optimise your 3D printing workflows. By tracking key data, letting you analyse and improve performance, and tracking settings and parts, an MES can help you go from an artisanal 3D printing process to something suited for regulated manufacturing. 3DTrust had an early advantage in the MES space since it was part of an Airbus incubator. This let the team learn from Airbus and its complex supply chain, as well as highly demanding standards. This led the team to also develop a powder management solution to help companies track metal powder, manage inventories, and make sure parts are made with the right powder batch. Subsequently, Bassetti a privately held company known for its innovation and materials management software, acquired 3DTrust.
Everyone knows that MES software is needed in AM as people move towards production. But, the path to a really large market is a long one, meaning that a tie-up with a partner with more wherewithal makes sense. The partner, meanwhile, can not only profit from the long term success of the MES but also gain entry into the 3D printing market.
Jeol’s view of the landscape and opportunities in 3D printing is shaped by his time as a VC previously for 3M Ventures. His co-founder Alexandre Guérin was at Siemens working for their corporate venturing arm. The team therefore literally screened the market and were discussing technological trends. Jeol says that the seed for 3DTrust was planted in 2014 when they saw the hype around 3D printing but also realised that so few people were using the technology for serial production. He wondered “why are AM applications so limited?” The team’s conclusion was that “there was not enough traceability and feedback.” These things would be sorely needed if companies were to use 3D printing for manufacturing. Solving this became the focus of the team, and after they were a part of the accelerator, they moved to Toulouse to be closer to Airbus.
There were other suitors and the 3DTrust team had advanced discussions with big groups as well.
Over the past 7 years the market has changed and grown. Now 3DTrust is seeing people doing distributed manufacturing where companies are printing parts, managing IP, and working in a distributed way. They’re also seeing a lot more manufacturing and serial production. Antoine is very bullish on personalised medical devices and serial production.
For customers he advises them to “partner with the right people” most of all.
Please don’t do 3D for the sake of doing 3D. Before you start, negotiate budget, as 3D printing needs to have applications. Start open and try to envision what you could do with making new shapes, or making things more efficiently, or by building things differently. Make the most out of additive. What do I need the most: should it be light, durable, easy to repair? Then experiment with prototyping. Buy a simple printer and go through local shops. Only once you find your ideal technology and application should you start buying a fleet of machines; this needs to be a careful investment. Find the right machine and right processes before you leap into 3D.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
July 21, 2021 at 08:06AM