In the long run, the hard transition to more digital business models and local supply chains, driven by the COVID pandemic, may be beneficial to AM. However, there is little doubt that in the short term, the AM industry – like all other industries – will be taking a hit. This may be truer for metal AM, where full digital additive production is not yet able to provide a valid alternative to traditional manufacturing methods. This may be one of the reasons why Hitch 3DPrint, a Singapore-based metal AM service, is now up for sale.
The issue for most young metal AM services is that they still very much serve the traditional manufacturing industry providing prototypes and tools, rather than offer an alternative. While plastics 3D printing can now be competitive on batches of up to a million parts, metal AM still requires huge investments to compete even on batches of a few hundred or low thousand parts. Still, those who are ready to make more long term investments in manufacturing should probably do so in metal AM: Hitch 3D Print, with a validated business model (at least in “normal” times) and a global base of clients, could represent an opportunity.
“After running Hitch 3DPrint for more than 3 years, it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain the business during this COVID period,” said Hitch 3DPrint Accounts Manager Joleen Chia, “Hence, we are placing the business up for sale. Buyers will get the customer base and supplier network. Perhaps even more importantly, in light of upcoming future digital business models, the firm developed a new on-cloud digital warehousing solution that is ready to go but has not gone live yet. Interested parties can contact Joleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hitch3DPrint was established in 2017 to accelerate the adoption of Metal AM technology. The firm developed a service based on the concept of “hitching”, where users can just hitch a metal print job at a highly attractive and affordable price. This approach is ideal for the future of metal AM technology in the upcoming digital age.
To date, Hitch 3DPrint has produced and shipped over 1,000 metal parts to over 10 countries. Most of the business (98%) is B2B with a minor percentage of B2C clients. The majority of parts (99%) have been produced via LB-PBF processes, with 1% of parts produced via EBM. In its best year (2019), the startup company generated revenues for nearly $60,000 and was recording double-digit growth.