Additive Manufacturing Industry Insight From The 2016 Wohlers Report

April 27, 2016
3D Innovations

The highly anticipated Wohlers Report 2016  has been released and is full of insightful data into the additive manufacturing (3D printing) industry. This annual state-of-the-industry report is sought-after by industry insiders and outside industry observes alike. The analysis is based on more than 20 years of data from companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

“For Wohlers Report 2016, input was collected 98 service providers, 51 system manufacturers, 15 third-party material producers, and the valuable contributions of 80 co-authors in 33 countries.” This network has allowed the Wohlers Report access to an unparalleled window into the additive manufacturing  industry.

Valuable insights from the report include:

  • For the second year in a row, the 3D printing industry has grown by $1 billion to a total of $5+ billion.
  • The additive manufacturing (AM) industry, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew 25.9% (CAGR – Corporate Annual Growth Rate) to $5.165 billion in 2015. The CAGR for the previous three years was 33.8%. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is an impressive 26.2%.
  • In 2014, the 3D printing industry grew 34.9%, the highest growth rate in 17 years.
  • High growth was experienced in two seemingly distinct and opposite sectors: industrial metal additive manufacturing and desktop 3D printers.

In the coming year we expect to see continued growth in the industry. While public interest in 3D printing has seemingly cooled, those within the industry know that the technology is moving forward with leaps and bounds.

This industry leading report has really become the gold standard for computing growth, analyzing trends, and forecasting the future of the industry.  If you are interested in learning more about the additive manufacturing industry this report is a great place to start.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

The True Cost of Bringing Your Hardware Product to Market

April 19, 2016
3D Innovations

costsUnderestimating the costs of bringing a product to market is a pitfall many entrepreneurs make. This one mistake can seriously derail a startup. Hardware products are notorious for being costly, so it is wise to estimate your costs before jumping in. Technology innovations, such as 3D printing, have helped lower some of the associated costs, but there are still others that many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of.

Below is a list of some of the major costs associated with launching a hardware product.

  • 3D Rendering & Prototyping. 3D rendering lets you design and accurately visualize the product before investing in an actual model. Once you have a final design, it is time to build a prototype. This is a critical step because it is here in which you test your design and make any necessary changes to its aesthetics or functionality. 3D printing has helped drive the costs down of prototypes, so this is one technology you may want to consider using. Keep in mind that prototyping costs vary depending on size, complexity and volume of part. (Estimated costs: $5,000-plus for design work and $500-plus for 3D printing iterations)
  • Certifications & Testing. Most products require some type of certification to be sold in various countries. (This is especially true if your product has an electronic component.) Entrepreneur has a list of certifications that could be required for your product (here). (Estimated cost: $10,000)
  • Intellectual Property. Patents allow you to secure all rights and claims to your invention. Filling a design patent is going to cost less than a utility patent, but the protection rights are also different. However, both types of patents let you use the coveted phrase, patent pending. It is always best to consult with a patent attorney to discuss the needs of your individual product. (Estimated costs: $2,000-plus)
  • The Retail Package. The retail package is integral and is in many ways the ‘face’ of your product. It must be both protective during shipping and help your product standout on a crowded shelf. (Estimated cost: $3,000-plus)
  • Manufacturing. This is likely going to be your largest expense, which means that finding and vetting manufacturers is to your advantage. While small batch runs are feasible with 3D printing, larger batches are going to require mass-manufacturing. Injection molding costs run high because of the expensive steel molds required. (Estimated costs: $40,000-plus)
  • Traditional business expenses. This category encompasses business licenses, product liability insurance, office space, warehousing fees and shipping costs, etc. (Estimated costs: $1,000-plus per month)

If your product has electronic components you are also going to want to factor in these additional costs.

  • Electronics Design. This is the heart and soul of your product. It is what makes your product go and what helps it stand out from the competition. From a design standpoint, this is going to be the most expensive step. It is important to find a design engineer that has experience related to your design needs and clearly understands your budgetary requirements. (Estimated cost: $10,000-plus)
  • Software. If your hardware product is going to require a microcontroller or microprocessor, some level of programming will be required. In addition, if your product needs to communicate with a smartphone, a mobile app may also be required. (Estimated costs: $5,000-plus)

Here is what our President & Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, has to say about hardware development costs, “Costs fluctuate with the specifications and requirements of your individual product. For example, a product that connects via Bluetooth takes more engineering than a device that just displays LEDs. It is always best to consult with design and manufacturing experts to get a clear answer on what your specific development costs will be.”

These costs do add up and it is easy to see why so many startups have turned to crowdfunding for their inventions. While crowdfunding is a fantastic resource, you need to nail down all of the costs required to bring your product to market first. Too often entrepreneurs underestimate the costs of bringing their product to market, and even after a successful crowdfunding campaign, can’t deliver on their promise to customers.

The most obvious example of underestimating costs is the Coolest Cooler, which was wildly successful and raised more than $13 million on Kickstarter in 2014, but over a year later many backers still have not received their coolers. Only after the Kickstarter campaign ended and manufacturing began, did the founders realize they set the price tag too low for the coolers—this one mistake has quickly turned into a nightmare scenario for the startup and the customers that pre-ordered through Kickstarter.

While all of these costs can and will fluctuate based on your specific product needs. These estimates are provided to help give you an idea on how much each stage in the product development process will cost, so that you and your team can plan accordingly.

Have questions about bringing your product to market? Let’s chat! Send your questions our way, info@3d-inovations.com

If you are looking for assistance in launching a product, check out our manufacturing and commercialization accelerator, Startup Connector.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Showcase Your Latest Product Design

April 15, 2016
3D Innovations

Have you been hard at work developing (an awesome) product, and are now ready to share it with the world? Great—that feeling of accomplishment is the best! Taking a moment to step back, look at the final design and think about how far you have come, really puts all the hard work and time spent into perspective.

Now onto the next stage, spreading the word about your product… We would love to share your recent design or product here on our blog! Whether you are getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign and would like a little help spreading the word, or you would like some design feedback from our trusted readers, we would be happy to help! We are always looking for ways to connect and share innovative products.

If you are interested in sharing your design or product on our blog, please e-mail us at info@3d-innovations.com so that we can chat.

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.” — Anonymous

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Startup Connector: Hardware Is Hard—Don’t Let That Deter You

April 13, 2016
3D Innovations

It’s true, hardware is hard, but the reward you get from launching a successful product makes the journey well worth it. Inventors and entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to create something different that has a real impact on society. Their brains never stop, never rest. They are always evaluating ideas and questioning ‘facts’. You can easily glance around any home or office and see the inventions that pioneers have perfected, and how these products have been integrated into our everyday lives. It is this rush and feel of accomplishment, that fuels the makers and hardware startups of the world.

StartupConnectorlogoThe path to hardware success is often bumpy, full of roadblocks and unexpected turns along the way. Founders of Startup Connector, Collin Kobayashi and Bob Nakata, know all too well the challenges facing hardware startups. “What we’ve seen is that there are a lot of products being developed, and there are different points where the companies get off track—whether it’s not having the right technical expertise, or not having the right experience, or not knowing where to go,” Kobayashi said. “The main gap that we’ve seen is that these companies can get through testing and prototyping, but really get stuck on getting their data package ready for full-scale production. One of the biggest pitfalls hardware startups run into are testing and certification requirements.”

With all of the challenges facing hardware startups, it is good to have knowledgeable and experienced professionals at your fingertips. Why not make the path to hardware startup success a little easier? This was the driving thought behind Startup Connector, a Hawaii-based manufacturing and commercialization accelerator. “Our main objective is to work with hardware development companies, to get them ready for full scale manufacturing. Getting them through the whole product development cycle, beyond prototyping to mass production.”

Advances in technology and manufacturing methods are ushering in a new wave of opportunity for hardware startups. Investors are taking notice of the hardware revolution, and helping propel the movement forward. If you have been mulling over a product idea or searching for the “right time” to focus on product development, now is your time.

Ready to partner with manufacturing and commercialization experts for your next project? Startup Connector is now accepting applications. Apply today! Getting your application in early will let us connect with you and keep you informed of the upcoming start dates.

*All quotes are from the Bytemarks Café interview conducted November 2015.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Innovation Is The Result Of Collaboration

April 7, 2016
3D Innovations

Over the centuries we have come to romanticize innovation as a spark of genius in one individualthe eureka moment—in which a solution to a real world problem is suddenly solved. This fallacy indirectly tells us that some people are innovative while others simply are not. However, this could not be further from the truth.

For instance, we all recognize Alexander Fleming as the brilliant mind behind penicillin—he stumbled across this miracle medicine and single handily created the field of antibiotics. In truth, the creation of penicillin took decades and the collaboration of many individuals. While Fleming did write about his finding in 1929, he did not have the skill set to study penicillin in any detail and turn it into a workable compound, Fleming was brilliant but he was not a trained chemist.

teamIn 1939, two chemists, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain came across Fleming’s paper and immediately understood the significance of his findings. They used their skill sets to product penicillin in quantity and began experimentation of it. Once they understood that this medicine could have a profound impact on society they needed to find a way to produce it in a massive quantitiesin steps the Rockefeller Foundation, which provided the necessary funding to develop methods in which it could be mass produced. In 1945, Fleming, Florey, and Chain received the Nobel Prize for medicine. So while, one man is often given sole credit in the history books for this great invention, it in fact, took the skill sets of many people to test the idea and bring it to market.

We started this post with the Fleming narrative to help alleviate the stress many entrepreneurs feelthat they have to come up with a magical business idea and execute it on their own. This is simply not true.

Building a team to help execute your idea is optimal. With a team you are imploring the talents and skill sets of many individuals. Not only do these skill sets help with execution, but they aid in the entire product development process. A team member might bring up a feature that you simply have not considered yet, or have an idea on how to broaden your market reach. Surrounding yourself with people of differing skill sets will greatly increase your chances for a successful product launch.

Collaboration is the ultimate competitive advantage for businesses in any stagestartups to multinational corporations. The individuals on your team each have a role to play in innovation, and by harnessing these talents, you will effectively build a stronger product and business.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

3D Design: Conceptual Design Benefits Startups

March 28, 2016
3D Innovations

The technological advancements of 3D design software, coupled with its increased accessibility, has made conceptual design appealing for startups. More startups are embracing 3D rendering as a way to conceptualize prototypes before investing in physical production.

Product Design and Development | 3D PrototypingWhat Is 3D Rendering?

3D rendering allows startups to model a product with minimal upfront costs, and share the visual concepts with other team members and potential investors early in the design process. The advancements in rendering software makes it possible to simulate product shading, light refraction, surface texture and much more. Design changes and model updates can be easily incorporated with minimal costs.

Benefits Of 3D Rendering For Startups
  1. Evaluate a product idea before investing in parts or suppliers. Complex product ideas can lead to more costly prototypes, however with 3D rendering, you can quickly conceptualize a product idea before investing capital. Visualizing the product idea in this way lets you validate the idea and share it with your team and potential investors.
  2. Eliminate the prototyping guesswork. Starting the prototyping process with a clear plan saves both time and money. Computer rendering is the stage for radical design experimentationchange forms, judge materials and test finishesthat way when you start to develop your prototype you have honed in on a firm design plan. This not only shrinks the product development timelineit allows you to develop better products.
  3. Test out the consumer market. Market testing is critical because you want to develop and produce a product that will meet the needs of your consumers. If you are not actively engage potential consumers and asking for their feedback you are doing yourself and your startup a major disservice. Gauge business potential and market interest with your rendering before moving forward with a physical model.

Launching a product can be costlyhowever, starting with a conceptual design is easy on your wallet and gives you the confidence to move forward in the design process.

Have questions about conceptual design? Send them our way at info@3d-innovations.com

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Product Design & Development Questions

March 24, 2016
3D Innovations

You have questions, we have answers.

PrintWe know how overwhelming it can be starting out with a product idea, and not knowing the next steps to take in order to make this idea a full-fledged reality. Between the product design and development aspects and reaching out to manufacturersthe ‘to-do’ list seems ever expanding.

While the internet is a great tool for finding answers to your questions, it can also lead to contradicting results and growing frustrations. It is often best to reach out to someone in the field to get the answers you need.

Let us help!

As a product development firm, we have experience working with entrepreneurs and startups from the initial concept phase through product launch. Whether you have a simple question and are looking for expert advice or you are interested in learning more about the entire product development process, our team is ready to help. Send us an e-mail (info@3d-innovations.com) or give us a call (+1.808.722.8667). We are always happy to help answer your questions and start you on the path to a successful product launch!

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Market Testing Is Vital For Hardware Startup Success

March 21, 2016
3D Innovations

goalSuccessfully launching a product is one of the best feelings in the world—you have nurtured an idea, spent time developing it and now it is in the hands of consumers. However, as entrepreneurs know, before you get to the “launch” there are hundreds of steps in between. Market testing is one of these steps and is vital to your product’s success.

What is Market Testing?

Market testing is getting your product idea and prototype into the hands of potential buyers and asking for their feedback. The feedback provided is related to all aspects of the productprice point, functionality and overall design. You are asking for real and honest feedback to help perfect your idea and make sure everything is in place for a successful launch. The information you glean from testing your market is the most valuable out there, since these are potential buyers/clients and you want to make sure that their needs are met.

Is Market Testing Expensive?

Market testing does take time, but it doesn’t have to drain resources. While major corporations spend the big bucks on market testing, that doesn’t mean you have to. Look at your current social and business networks and start testing your product idea and prototype with these individuals. You can then expand your test market as you progress in the product development timeline.

Your time and money are extremely valuable, and can’t afford to waste them by investing them in producing a product that fails in the marketplace. The more you test your product before you produce and sell it, the more likely you are to earn the sales and profits that you desire.

Build Excitement Around Your Product Launch

Market testing is another way of building excitement about your product. We recently  worked with the Menehunes as they developed their product, pitched it at a community startup event and launched a crowdfunding campaign. However, before launching their Kickstarter page, these young entrepreneurs had the foresight to reach out to their target market, and let these potential buyers test the product and provide them with feedback. The feedback not only helped hone in on the final design, but it also connected them with some of their first Kickstarter backers. It is never too early to start building excitement around your product’s launch.

Testing your target market is one of the many steps before launch, but it is one that should not be overlooked or undervalued. Continually testing your target market can help ensure your product’s success.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

 

 

Engineering & The Women That Shaped The Field

March 16, 2016
3D Innovations

March is Women’s History Month and we would like to take a moment honor some of history’s most prominent female engineers. There have been many women before us that helped define a disciple and engineer change. We do not often stop to think about the technology they developed, but these women made incredible contributions to society and deserve credit for leaving a lasting mark. While a list of prominent female engineers could be pages long, we decided to focus on a handful of pioneers.

Engineering Pioneers

Below are five women that made in enormous impact on the engineering profession…

  • Martha Coston. Developed and secured the patent (in 1859) for signal flares. Her three-light design is an example of timely and effective product engineering and is said to have helped the North win the war. This technology is still used by the U.S. Navy today.
  • Grace Murray Hopper. Programmed some of the first computers. During her lifetime as a leader in the field of software development concepts, she contributed to the transition from primitive programming techniques to the use of sophisticated compilers. She believed that “we’ve always done it that way” was not necessarily a good reason to continue to do so.
  • Helen Augusta Blanchard. One of the greatest inventors of the industrial eraholding 28 patents and often referred to as “Lady Edison”.
  • Ellen Henrietta Swallow. The first woman accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned her second B.S. there in 1873. A pioneer in industrial and environmental chemistry who went on to teach at the MIT Woman’s Laboratory.
  • Emily Warren Roebling. Responsible for the day-to-day construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. The dedication and hard work put into the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge by Emily Warren Roebling was noted by Congressman Abram S. Hewitt at the dedication ceremonies prior to the opening of the bridge. Emily was the first to cross the Brooklyn Bridge after it opened on May 24, 1883.

There are no doubt many more women who have helped propel the engineering discipline forward. Design News recently published a piece, 10 of History’s Greatest Women Inventors You Should Know, and many of these women did not get credit at the time for their work, but their inventions have shaped technologies that have changed our lives and the course of history.

Encouraging Girls to Pursue Engineering Careers

It is no secret that STEM careers are increasing at a rapid rate while the qualified applicant pool is relatively stagnant. We need more women to engage in engineering studies and become leaders in the industry. Breaking down the negative stereotypes associated with engineering and encouraging students to pursue the discipline are just a couple of the most basic ways in which we can help girls become excited about the field. Here are a few ways to make engineering come “alive” for students…

  • Expose them to women that have pioneered in the engineering profession.
  • Engage in family, or classroom, activities that spark curiosity and require creative solutions. A simple Google search leads to many results on engaging introductory engineering activities.
  • Empower and motivate them to take challenging math and science courses in high school and college.
  • Share your experience of the engineering profession with them. Many students have never met an engineer, so this is a chance to talk about what your job entails and why it is a fulfilling career.

For additional ideas, check out our Encouraging Our Future Engineers & Innovators post.

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Prototyping: Unleash Your Creativity

March 10, 2016
3D Innovations

prototypingPrototyping is one of the first stages of developing an idea and launching a startup. This is a chance for you to cultivate your idea while also engaging your creative side. We have seen many forms of initial idea formation and prototypes—everything from napkin sketches to prototypes configured from household items. While these will certainly not been your final functional or pre-production prototypes, engaging your creative side in this manner helps you clarify your idea, explain it to others, and bring it to life.

Things to consider when you are building an initial homemade prototype:

  • Experiment with materials. Different materials mean changes in weight and structure. Are you looking for light-weight materials or is weight not a big concern?
  • Test out its size. Is this going to be a hand held or free standing product? What do you envision as the optimal size? Remember that you don’t need exact measurements yet, just an estimate.
  • Narrow down the functional elements. What parts are functional? How does this functionality set it apart from the competition?
  • Present it to friends and family. Use your handmade prototype to share with friends and family. Explain your idea and ask for their feedback. This early customer feedback can help your clarify and further develop your idea.

Making a prototype by hand is a great way to get started! Remember that there are no rules and no limits. Use this development stage as a way to experiment. Look around your house and see if you can find materials to put together your first prototype. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be ‘pretty’ and most certainly doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. Once you are ready to get started on a functional prototype, send us an e-mail (info@3d-innovations.com) or give us a call (+1.808.722.8667).

_______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today