Twikit is one of the most dynamic companies in the 3D printing market. Pioneer in its sector of activity, it innovates through the customisation of 3D printed products as well as digital products.
With more than 10 years of experience in 3D printing, Martijn Joris, founder of Twikit, is a designer and a developer. He discovered the potential of the technology at Materialize, one of the leaders of this industry, but his interest in creation was the real starting point of this company.
Today, he demonstrates that there is still a potential to be discovered.
Could you tell us more about Twikit ?
Twikit stands for making a new way of bringing a product to a market. We connect our software platform to the power of 3D Printing. And three things matter:
- You don’t need to master the use of this technology but at least you can present a product in a unique way, in a small series
- You can sell a product and manufacture it in a personalized way
- It is a digital flow. With our software platform, we connect what users make to 3D printers so it’s a full digital supply chain
We started with 3 guys and today we are 23. It’s a mix of software developers, product designers and engineers. We know how to work with this technology, how to design with it, what kind of customization might be important to each product etc.
Do you proceed to production after the 3D customization?
Yes. So basically, let me explain the flow: on our software platform, you can input any product. You can input a jewel, furniture…you can set all the features and boundaries of the customization, what you might change and what you cannot change.
And based on that, we create an interface which is on our website. In addition, when the user makes something, when he customizes something and he orders it, then our system will automatically create a production ready-file and we will shoot this file to another factory.
So, we have a couple of 3D printers here but it’s more for prototyping. For reproduction, we work for either external big factories or big customers (…) and our system will hand over the STL to them.
Who is your primary target?
We have a generic solution so we can work for many products. We originally started on the market of business gifts and jewelry. We also work for a higher market, automotive where we promote solutions from our software. As for windows, it’s not really about 3D printing, but we can do a lot of laser-cutting there…
What is the market with the highest demand?
That would be automotive if you look at our turnover. If you look at applications which are live today and running, I would say jewelry. It’s also a market for which 3D printing was ready for a couple of years ago.
3D Printing market
You almost have a 10-year experience in this domain. According to you, what are the major changes that characterized this sector of activity ?
A couple of things. The constant evolution of new materials. Ten years ago, we started with plastic and today, we have a lot of materials.
The last couple of years, we also saw the rise of metal printing and that’s pretty cool. That’s also the reason why we saw airplanes and automotive companies invest in the 3D printing technology.
The evolution is still going on. We started with prototyping, now it’s ready for serial production.
3D printing can really make parts which have high consistent quality and of course, it’s a lot about customisation. Customisation is what the customer expects.
Does that mean that you consider that this market is already a mature one?
No. It’s mature enough to print some products but it is not that mature to print other stuff.
We are still on the verge of the real potential of the technology. In the coming years, there is going to be a real adoption of the technology by all industries and companies.
So, it’s in front of us and that’s exciting!
What about the Belgian market?
We are strong in this technology. A couple of years ago, quite a big percentage of global sales came out of Belgium. We have a lot of big companies here like Materialise, merlotte etc…and next to these companies, there is a rich education. A lot of academic institutes for instance KU Leuven, have a deep experience in this technology.
What are the main difficulties Twikit encountered?
We are one of the pioneers so that’s nice because customers find us but on the other side, there is a lot of things that still need to be done. We really had to push it during the first years…and that was not easy …
Prospects of development
Yes, some really exciting projects that will be launched in the next term are in the automotive industry but also in the windows industry. #Staytuned
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