The cost of metal 3D printing is cited by some as a challenge to the wider adoption of additive manufacturing. Launched in 2017, Singapore-based Hitch 3D Print says users can tap into over 1,000 metal additive manufacturing systems, “hitching” a ride to lower costs.
I asked Hitch 3D Print found Alex Liu about the motivation for launching the service. “I noticed the pricing of metal 3d printing is a major barrier for businesses to adopt the technology,” said Liu. “From our experience, a print tray almost always has unused capacity in a metal print job. So I derived the idea of hitch where users can hitch onto an existing print tray, similar to that of hitching a car ride, at a minimal cost since no set up cost is required. At the same time, service providers are able to maximize their revenue by stacking multiple hitch orders and populate the entire print tray.”
Liu says the business model is based on pull, rather than push. “A user uploads a file and chooses a material. An instant hitch quotation will be provided. If user decides to proceed, his request will be made visible to all of our partners. A partner will proceed to accept the request after assessing the hitch request to be suitable for hitching onto their existing print job. This is different from the traditional model where requests are pushed to a company to fulfill. Instead, the companies are able to choose requests that are most suited to their print schedule. We are witnessing a shift in business model from a push to a pull model in Hitch3Dprint’s hitch solution.”
While Liu did not disclose the names of the 3D printing service providers Hitch 3D printer are working with he says the company has signed agreements spanning the globe, “Namely US, UK, EU, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.” Liu added, “these service providers own either laser and/or electron powder bed fusion printers. Our impressive list of database includes a potential reach to 166 Service providers worldwide with a total of more than 1,000 metal printers. In addition, our network also includes Metal Additive equipment and powder manufacturers located all over the world.”
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