Henrike Wonneberger, co-founder and COO of Replique, sheds light on the spin-out of the company, emphasizing how it is greater than the sum of its parts.

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The Rise of Additive Manufacturing Software Platforms: A Closer Look at Replique

In the ever-evolving world of additive manufacturing (AM), one theme stands out: the transition from startup to scale-up. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a significant proliferation of AM-centric software platforms, signaling the sector’s growth and the intensified competition within. And now, with the recent spin-off of Replique from BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, the competition in the AM software market segment is about to reach new heights.

To gain insights into the software side of the sector and the challenges and rewards of running a startup, I spoke with Replique’s co-founder and chief operating officer (COO), Henrike Wonneberger. What I discovered is that Replique has what it takes to separate itself from the crowded field of digital spare parts inventories.

One of Replique’s unique strengths stems from its origins. With both Wonneberger and co-founder Dr. Max Siebert having started their careers at BASF over a decade ago, the startup benefits from a strong foundation in materials qualification. This expertise is crucial, considering the urgent need for supply chain digitalization in today’s rapidly accelerating digital landscape.

While existing 3D printing platforms excel in prototyping, Replique focuses on spare parts and serial business. This shift demands more than just uploading a part and choosing materials and technology. It requires a rigorous process of qualifying the parts with customers to ensure the desired quality in serial production. Replique’s commitment to this quality assurance process is a result of lessons learned from their time at BASF.

Despite the benefits of their affiliation with BASF, Replique made the strategic decision to spin out rather than spin in. While the option to join the BASF Forward AM fold was available, Replique chose independence. By building partnerships with various suppliers in the 3D printing industry, Replique ensures that their platform delivers the best possible solutions for their customers. Software and digital inventory alone are not enough. The key to success lies in the intricate details of engineering and materials, which Replique understands and embraces wholeheartedly.

This approach requires Replique to strike a delicate balance between the advantages of an established brand and the flexibility of a startup. Finding synergy between these two worlds can be challenging, but it is a reality many startups in the AM sector face. Replique’s ability to navigate this balancing act sets them apart from the competition.

As the AM sector continues to grow, software platforms like Replique play a vital role in driving innovation and advancing the industry. The transition from startup to scale-up is not merely about expanding operations; it represents the relentless pursuit of excellence, constantly pushing boundaries to deliver the best possible solutions to customers.

Replique’s journey exemplifies this spirit. With their expertise in materials qualification, commitment to quality assurance, and strategic decision to maintain independence, Replique is well-positioned to stand out in the AM software market. As the sector evolves, it is exciting to see how Replique will continue to drive digitalization and revolutionize the supply chain in additive manufacturing.

Navigating the landscape of additive manufacturing (AM) can be a challenging task for many companies. However, Replique, a young AM company, is well-positioned to excel in this field. As more legacy manufacturers expand their AM divisions and incorporate AM technologies for the first time, there is a growing need for a mediator between the old and the new. Replique can play this role effectively, particularly at the organizational level, helping to smooth out friction between legacy and AM divisions within the same company.

Large corporations often struggle with digitalization, as it requires significant changes to their processes. Replique understands this challenge, having worked with large companies itself. Many companies wonder why they should work with Replique instead of pursuing AM on their own. While there are certainly companies capable of printing their own parts, scaling globally demands considerable resources, including buying printers, establishing facilities worldwide, hiring skilled workers, and maintaining inventory. It is more practical for companies to outsource this process, just as they outsource other forms of manufacturing.

One successful example of Replique’s outsourcing model is the Eternal Spare Part. Replique partnered with Siena Garden, a leading German patio furniture brand, to digitally store spare parts that can be 3D printed by any of Replique’s in-network manufacturers. This ensures that customers can easily replace individual components without having to purchase an entirely new product. This concept can be applied to various industries, such as transportation, aerospace, and agricultural machinery, where downtime and costly replacements are major concerns.

The key to Replique’s success lies in its familiarity with a wide range of AM materials. The company understands that choosing the right material for each application is crucial. The materials market in AM is fragmented, making quality assurance and standardization challenging. However, the push for decarbonization could drive the standardization of materials, as carbon footprint transparency becomes a requirement across industries.

In conclusion, Replique’s expertise in navigating the complex landscape of AM, mediating between legacy and disruptive forces, and providing outsourcing solutions makes it an ideal partner for large corporations. The company’s success with the Eternal Spare Part demonstrates its ability to meet the diverse needs of various industries. As the AM sector continues to grow, Replique’s role will remain essential in providing quality assurance and selecting the right materials for different applications.

The focus on sustainability is growing stronger by the day. Consumers are demanding it, and regulations are starting to require it. We have all heard the mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle, but there is another component that is gaining recognition: repair.

Repair is starting to gain traction as people realize the significant impact it can have on sustainability. And sustainability is not just about saving the environment; it is also about ensuring economic sustainability. Industrial companies have long understood the value of repairing valuable machinery, and now consumers are beginning to realize the importance of repairing their more expensive consumer products.

This turning point is driven by the recognition of external costs that were previously overlooked, such as carbon dioxide emissions. As these costs become more apparent, consumers are becoming more mindful of their purchasing decisions.

But despite having a clear vision of Replique’s role in the broader additive manufacturing ecosystem, the company’s CEO, Wonneberger, acknowledges that not everything can be accounted for ahead of time. Starting a new company is always a leap of faith, and unforeseen events can often throw a wrench into even the most well-thought-out plans.

Wonneberger emphasizes the importance of adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges. While it is crucial to have a solid business plan, it is equally important to be bold enough to pivot when circumstances change. This flexibility and ability to adapt will give Replique a significant edge in the competitive digital inventory platform market.

In conclusion, the importance of sustainability is growing, and repair is emerging as a critical component in achieving it. Replique understands the need for adaptability and is poised to capitalize on the changing landscape of additive manufacturing. Stay informed about the latest news in 3D printing and receive exclusive offers by staying connected with us.

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