ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.
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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT FEBRUARY 2016 Additive Manufacturing 18 Time is money. Nowhere is that statement truer than in the manufacturing industry. Machine shop owners invest heavily in advanced machinery to meet the demands of the market. Still, in a competitive market and unpredictable economy, maintaining uptime can be hard and time-consuming. The results are a lot of time left on the table, unused manufacturing potential, and buyers spending too much time shopping for parts production. To solve these problems, MakeTime, a Lexington, Kentucky-based company, is changing the way designers connect and contract jobs with manufacturers. With the mission of bolstering U.S. manufacturing, they have created an on-demand network of available machining time, which helps manufacturers get more use out of existing machines and buyers reduce the time it takes to shop, negotiate and produce parts. The platform works similar to online dating. Manufactur- ers create an online profle detailing the machines and time available. Designers and buyers then upload their projects and specs for pieces to be manufactured. MakeTime does the matchmaking. The process difers from online dating in that MakeTime handles all the middleman work. They help select the manufacturer best matched to the buyer that has the right time and machines available to meet the project needs. All communication from specs, details, money and feedback goes through MakeTime to ensure they can control the entire experience and make sure the buyers' needs are met and the manufacturers are up to par. Companies of all sizes and types are fnding diferent ways to beneft from the service. Customers in the R&D feld are able to reduce product lead time from six to eight months to eight to 10 weeks by relying on MakeTime to make the best connections and handle all the in-between. This can make all the diference in research. Companies like Compass Automa- tion, based in Elgin, Illinois, rely on MakeTime to save them time in sourcing materials, qualifying shops, managing logis- tics and negotiating for parts manufacturing. This service lets the engineers do what they do best and leaves the searching to MakeTime. MakeTime has developed a new online marketplace by changing the way buyers and manufacturers fnd each other. From a simple idea for helping designers fnd someone to build their part by utilizing the untapped potential in ma- chine shops, MakeTime has grown into a turnkey solution for some companies. With a reported platform usage growth of 30 percent per month, the capabilities this service can provide to makers will continue to grow. Some users are even considering looking to MakeTime as their go-to service for small-batch manufac- turing. It may have originated as a service targeted to small makers, but MakeTime has shown its usefulness for larger and larger projects. The network and its potential continues to grow. MakeTime serves as a middleman, matching designers and buyers with manufacturers who can produce parts for their projects. SOURCE: MakeTime MakeTime Leverages Unused Manufacturing Potential Andrew Taggart, Communications Coordinator, AMT