To solve a key pain point for manufacturers & design engineers globally, Vention has built a cloud-based machine design platform. An engineer can design, build, order, and receive his/her custom industrial machine all in less than a week, representing a 5x increase in speed over current solutions in the market .
Opportunity for technological innovation is ripe in an industry that has no clear market leader and has been grappling with flat growth for the past 5 years . Through its public library of open-source designs, Vention can become a market leader that revolutionizes the way engineers design and build their custom industrial equipment.
A new way to design and build
The current process for an engineer to design equipment/machinery leverages traditional tools such as AutoCAD and typically takes several weeks, if not months, for an engineer to either scour bids from machine shops to understand how and/or if their suggested products will be compatible with their existing machines on-site or launch an entire engineering project to design from scratch a customized machine to solve a current need for the manufacturing engineer.
Vention’s 3D design platform offers a free solution for engineers to leverage pre-built designs of typical tooling components (jigs, tooling, fixtures, etc). Users can either directly order these components and/or build upon them to customize their equipment. Vention allows engineers to change what used to be a “complex engineering project to become a simple e-commerce experience”, by not reinventing the wheel each time they want customized equipment .
Using this AI powered platform, a user will have his/her bill of materials (BOM) automatically generated (vs manually managing a BOM of hundreds of pieces) as s/he designs the desired equipment. The platform automatically calculates the cost, weight, and number of fasteners required to assemble the equipment, allowing for full cost transparency . Using artificial intelligence, the platform understands what the user is trying to build and offers recommendations for parts to use while building and it provides a 3D constrained system, ensuring assembly is error free for the user upon receiving the parts 
Content growth through open innovation
Vention’s value proposition transcends 3D modeling software. Instead, Vention offers significant reduction in time to market of equipment, simplified procurement workflow, and most importantly, reusability of designs, either those built by the users themselves and/or those available on the public library.
For companies and/or engineers looking to cut costs and time, having a pre-built library of structural, control, motion, and hardware components is a key advantage. To build its free public library of modular components, Vention has a small team of engineers who currently design most of the available public assemblies. However, users can also elect to have their designs be made public, whether they have built them from scratch or leveraged existing designs.
Vention’s public assembly library [Source: Author]
Vention offers royalties to its users who publish their designs to encourage this open source environment and to drive content growth. Users can earn 2.5% royalties whenever their designs are purchased, in the form of Vention credits, which can be later used to purchase other equipment . Vention is using open innovation as a means of building its content library and helping users become engaged on its platform in a meaningful way, creating a community of designers and engineers.
Looking forward: Recommendations for Vention
Today, Vention offers access to its platform and pre-built library entirely for free, with its only source of revenue from product sales. In addition, its library is largely populated by its internal engineers.
In the future, Vention should look to have its platform become a self-run social marketplace, where users are driving most of the library growth, becoming an Amazon & Facebook for industrial machinery. One of Vention’s biggest value propositions is simplifying the design and ordering experience for engineers, by having all the steps occur in one spot, on the cloud-based platform. Expanding the product scope to more complex equipment (beyond simple carts, etc) should be a next step to continue to streamline the engineer’s design and procurement experience, by eliminating machine shops and other tooling suppliers that offer varying levels of quality and poor timeliness. One way to do this is inviting more collaboration from incumbent players in the market to offer their products on Vention’s platform.
Open innovation has been used to unlock value across many industries, to help solve the toughest of problems by crowd-sourcing ideas from virtually anywhere. Vention is on the right track but should push open innovation beyond using it as a nice add-on feature, encouraging more designers to join the community through, for example, competitions at universities, machine shops, and/or other engineering communities.
The main question that Vention faces moving forward: with additive manufacturing on the rise, how will Vention unlock value and monetize its AI-powered 3D Machine design platform?
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