The Belgian scale-up Twikit supplies the high-tech software with which BMW Group is the very first brand to have its cars fully personalized. For example, those who order a new MINI can now adjust the dashboard in 3D with different shapes, context, patterns and colours. BMW Group is the first car brand to choose the new Twikit technology, which makes production techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting on a large scale available to companies for the very first time. The software is the missing link between large companies and the 3D production sites.
A glove compartment decorated with the skyline of your favourite city and your motto in 3D letters written on it? A LED light that projects your name on the street when you get out of the car? Anyone who orders a new MINI can now personalize it in a variety of ways. With just a few clicks on the website, BMW Group factory will have your unique car model ready in just a couple of weeks.
The German car manufacturer is the very first to have its cars fully personalized and therefore uses the Antwerp scale-up Twikit for that exact purpose. Twikit develops software-as-a-service to personalize products on a large scale. The final customer adapts the product – the car in this case – online and in 3D to their own personal taste via the website. These digital files from thousands of customers are then automatically taken to the production facility, which can then deliver thousands of completely unique products quickly and easily.
“Twikit technology was a bull’s eye right from the start”, says co-founder Gijs Hoppenbrouwers. “Since its foundation, we have been working with major players in various industries. Innovative players in the medical industry can now use our technology to make prostheses and orthoses on a large scale quickly. Customization for a mass audience is also perfectly possible for jewellery, furniture, windows and doors, electronics, … Companies discover that they can personalize products with modern, high-tech production techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting, tailored to each individual customer.”
Until now, it has been particularly complex and elaborate for large companies to bring together 3D printing, CNC, laser cutting and other digital production techniques in one smooth production process, especially on a large scale. Twikit’s technology now ensures a seamless integration of those technologies within existing production environments.
Competitive advantage due to personalization
Twikit expects personalized production to only increase further in the future. “More and more products resemble each other, and not only in the automotive sector. Allowing customers to personalize products is a way to stand out from the competition. The possibilities are endless. We reconcile production on a large scale with the desire of people to still have a unique product.”
About Twikit: Twikit was founded at the end of 2012 by Martijn Joris, Gijs Hoppenbrouwers and George Lieben. Today the company has 33 employees. Twikit had a successful capital round and raised more than 2 million euros in 2015. Today Twikit is active worldwide, and besides Europe, the American market is becoming increasingly important for the company.
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