Industries served: Automotive, aerospace, engineering and design
Technologies: FDM/FFF, Binder jetting, SLS, SLA, DMLS, Multi Jet Fusion
Applications: End-use parts, tooling, low-volume production runs, prototypes
Mexico is a burgeoning hub for additive manufacturing, with industries like aerospace and automotive driving demand. One of the success stories to come out of this development is Tridi Mx, a 3D printing service provider located in Querétaro. Since its launch in 2013, Tridi Mx has serviced over 4,000 projects and produced more than 15,000 end-use parts, tooling aids and prototypes.
With a customer base that includes Safran, Valeo and Nestle, Tridi Mx has quickly become a leading player in Mexico’s additive manufacturing industry. Its recent partnership with Stratasys’ Global Manufacturing Network has helped the company expand significantly, giving its customers access to over 300 additional industrial 3D printers.
However, Tridi Mx’s rapid growth has brought challenges as well as opportunities. As operations have expanded, the company’s sales and production teams found it difficult to keep up with the pace of growth.
One key challenge lay in the company’s pricing process. Flooded with requests, the sales team would spend hours pricing parts.
“One of the main challenges we were looking to solve was our internal pricing process,” explains Sebastián Romo, founder and CEO of Tridi Mx. “Our sales team was losing at least four to five hours a day just quoting FDM parts. We recognised that this time spent quoting parts could be put towards developing more business opportunities.”
To price an FDM part, an STL file would need to be uploaded into slicing software, with a sales rep noting the projected time needed to produce the part. This information would then be put into a spreadsheet, where a formula would be used to calculate the final price of the part.
This was inevitably a slow and laborious way to calculate the price a part, especially when it came to larger parts.
In addition to the need to price parts both quickly and accurately, 3D printing companies like Tridi Mx are also faced with the task of educating the market.
“Our vision behind founding the company was to make additive manufacturing more accessible in Mexico and thereby help drive innovation,” says Romo. “As part of that, we actively pour a lot of resources into educating the local market.
“So we were also looking for a solution to help support this mission. This meant finding an online quoting system that that could help customers go through the buying process much more easily.”
At first, finding the right solution wasn’t easy. “We’d tried a number of different online platforms but found that they were much too complex for those without extensive AM experience,” says Romo. “Even for those among our customers with more experience, it’s unlikely that they would fully understand the different variables and configurations required for a print to happen.”
After extensive research, Tridi Mx finally opted for AMFG.
“The support team at AMFG really took the time to help me understand the platform and the benefits it could bring to Tridi Mx,” says Romo. “AMFG’s platform also offers a great deal of customisation, from translations to customisable templates and emails. The ease with which we could change the platform to fit with our needs and our branding was amazing.”
AMFG’s software platform helped to solve Tridi Mx’s main challenges in two ways.
First, to address the challenge of pricing parts, a custom pricing formula was created, taking into account key part parameters.
Now, instead of having to manually check an STL file and use a separate Excel spreadsheet for price calculations, the sales team can simply use AMFG’s software to import a file and instantly generate an accurate calculation. This has significantly reduced the time needed to price parts from hours to minutes.
Secondly, Tridi Mx was able to use AMFG to set up and configure its online customer ordering portal. Customers are now able to instantly quote and request parts, selecting from a range of technology, materials and post-processing options.
“AMFG’s online quoting tool perfectly matched our need to have a simple and intuitive front-end platform for our customers,” says Romo. “It’s simplified our customers’ journey and helped them to quickly send orders through the platform straight to our sales and production teams. This, in turn, has helped us streamline our internal project management operations.”
Tridi Mx has seen great results since implementing AMFG.
With coordinated marketing efforts, the company has seen 60% of its leads come through the online ordering portal. Additionally, the orders Tridi Mx has received through the AMFG platform currently represents 10% of the company’s revenue.
“It’s a fantastic result for us, especially considering the way purchasing and procurement work in Mexico,” says Romo. “There are strict rules in place which mean companies can’t buy services online — they must go through an internal purchase order process. Despite that, we’re seeing that many companies are actually starting the purchasing process through the quoting platform.
“The benefit is that they can instantly receive a price which they can send directly to their purchasing department to process. So while we don’t conduct the transaction directly through the platform in these instances, it’s still a great tool for capturing leads and securing subsequent business.”
In addition to automating the quoting process, implementing AMFG has cut down the time needed to price parts from hours to just minutes.
The company’s branding has also seen a boost. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback thanks to having the quoting tool on our website. Not only is it easy for customers to use and understand, but it solidifies the perception of Tridi Mx as a serious, professional business, says Romo.
“This played a key role in securing our partnership with Stratasys: Stratasys considers us to be the most professional service bureau in Mexico — with a great website and a great pricing
Tridi Mx’s growth only looks set to continue, as the company eyes expansion into Chile, Columbia, Argentina and other countries. “The demand for additive manufacturing services in Latin America is growing rapidly and we’re already anticipating a 10X growth over the next couple of years,” explains Romo.
“Ultimately, our vision is to educate the market in Mexico and get people familiar with the technology. The reality is that the market knows 3D printing exists but still doesn’t understand the benefits the technology can bring. Working with AMFG is helping us to change this reality.”
Images courtesy of Tridi Mx.