As 3-D printing technologies continue to advance and evolve in regard to uses, companies are sharpening their offerings to differentiate products in the market. To achieve that end, technology company Dassault Systèmes recently launched its 3-D Experience Marketplace, a digital “ecosystem” and online trading platform for industrial services and content providers.
Its cloud-based marketplace introduces a streamlined platform that includes 50 digital manufacturers, over 500 machines and 30 million components from 600 suppliers. The platform helps businesses scout new manufacturing service providers, including 3-D printing, and allows access to on-demand manufacturing and intelligent part sourcing services, the company said. And it enables businesses to “iterate on design and manufacturing specifications, ensure that a part or product can be manufactured and reduce risk and errors,” according to the firm. Its software is empowered to manage payments, currency conversions and billing, providing “full traceability” for each transaction.
Referring to today’s times as an “Industry Renaissance,” Bernard Charlès, vice chairman and chief executive officer at Dassault Systèmes, said that the current market offerings “[extend] beyond digitization to the emergence of new players and new categories of solutions, processes and services that prioritize sustainable innovation over productivity. Based on the 3-D Experience platform that pioneered the category of business experience platform in 2012, the 3-D Experience Marketplace transforms the supply chain into a value chain: a single, virtual, social enterprise, pioneering a new way to do business, innovate and create value in industry.” Charlès added, “Online platforms and marketplaces have already transformed retail, transportation and hospitality services. Get ready — the industrial world is next.”
And Dassault Systèmes’ FashionLab 3-D Experience platform, which launched in 2011, is a technology incubator designed for the fashion and luxury industries that integrates design, simulation and collaboration into a single platform and allows designers to create a complete collection in 3-D. Its platform has gained new relevancy of late due to increased interest in customization from consumers.
Jérôme Bergeret, the director of FashionLab at Dassault Systèmes, told WWD, “In 2018, personalization of goods is becoming a major trend that retailers and [fashion] brands and manufacturers need to adopt. On demand, locally manufactured, personalized experiences and products create an ongoing and sustainable source of differentiation and profit in markets that are increasingly competitive.” Marrying engineering expertise and design savvy, which streamlines the creative process, is the focus: “We want to merge the designers and the manufacturers together,” Bergeret said.
The firm is differentiated by its integrated approach, which includes gathering trends prior to launching new brands, seasons or collections; research and insights into creating in-store experiences via 3-D store representation and a “holistic” view of a collection prior to production through its 3-D simulation. FashionLab’s platform is currently used to design footwear and watchmaking — 3-D design capabilities for soft-goods such as leather and apparel is in development, the company said.
Designers can draw by hand, quickly edit or change patterns and add detailing directly on top of pre-loaded 3-D image files, allowing for a streamlined, expedited delivery of design concepts and ideas. Julien Fournié, a Parisian couturier and founder of his namesake brand, said of the software, “The idea is not to erase the craftsman; it’s to accelerate the process between them and the studio.”
In late 2017, the FashionLab partnered with Ecco Shoes for its “experiential, augmented footwear project” titled Quant-U. Patrizio Carlucci, the head of Ecco’s Innovation Lab, I.LE, said that “We see a lot of activity on the subject of 3-D printed footwear without a solid solution for true mass customization from competitors. Additive manufacturing offers the chance to create bespoke parts in series, but this is rarely translated in a consumer product; most likely due to the complexity of the 3-D models and a lack of measuring data to begin with. To solve this, we focused heavily on the digital capture and interpretation of motion and orthotic data, then made sure this experience would be no more complicated than trying on a shoe in the store and walking for a few minutes.”
Carlucci added, “We truly translated more than 50 years of shoemaking experience into an algorithm.”
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