The Open Innovation Challenge is now firmly established at MANN+HUMMEL, with the fourth event being held this year. For Mirja Vogt and me, however, it is all the more exciting to start the year getting to grips with a new, relevant and forward-thinking topic. The Open Innovation Challenge 2018 continues this trend, looking at the subject of ‘Additive manufacturing – disruptive advantage – ready to print?!’

project team

Additive manufacturing – generally known as 3D printing – offers a wide range of potential benefits, such as speeding up the availability of prototypes, and enabling the manufacture of small batches and the customization of solutions. One of the key technologies in digitized production, additive manufacturing is set to have an impact on existing supply chains and processes, and lead to the development of new business models.

For financial reasons, additive manufacturing is (still) limited to rather small numbers of pieces, which is why it is particularly suited to the phases that come before and after the actual mass production period. The prototype phase is essentially governed by speed and agility – both benefits offered by 3D printing.

open innovation 2018 project

The cost benefit comes to the fore after the series production phase thanks to the flexible production options for small and extra-small batches without the need to have access to the relevant tools. Technology is currently undergoing huge change specifically in the area of functionality (temperature, pressure, stress resistance etc.).

MANN+HUMMEL Open_Innovation logo

Today, parts produced using additive manufacturing can, to a certain extent, replace conventionally produced parts in trial and also series-production applications, while simultaneously exhibiting similar functional properties. Furthermore, the variety of ‘printable’ materials is also increasing – alongside plastics, solutions using metal and elastomers are also now a possibility.

For us, one thing is clear: the market for additive manufacturing solutions is growing rapidly and we want to get a better understanding of the possible opportunities along with our suppliers and potential new partners, so that we can exploit this disruptive technology for the benefit of all parties.

All ideas are welcome and anyone can take part!

You will find details on the Open Innovation Challenge on the MANN+HUMMEL homepage under the following link: