Expect A Lot More ISO In The Future Of 3D Printing
Another company announced they’ve achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification, and they won’t be the last.
Ivaldi Group, a startup company focusing on delivering on-demand 3D printed spare parts for industry, including maritime, announced they’ve achieved this certification. It’s a big step for the company.
What is ISO 9001:2015? It’s part of a larger set of certifications called ISO 9000, and the 2015 refers to the release date of the version involved. The standard attempts to prove that that the certified operation actually does make use of effective procedures to ensure product or service quality.
Achieving the standard involves demonstration to an independent ISO auditor that these processes exist and are being followed.
Someone outside the certified operation and therefore unfamiliar with their work can have some level of assurance that at least reasonable processes are being followed by the company. This can be a great aid in developing trust between supplier and clients, and in some cases, buyers require such certifications before they will even consider purchasing products.
There is a cost to achieving this certification, as you must pay for the audit — which might be done several times — and also the internal work required to develop and implement the necessary processes, forms, training and other aspects. Thus you tend to find such certifications only in the larger 3D print companies, whose aerospace, automotive and medical buyers insist on certifications.
I should say that ISO 9001 is a generic standard that is applicable to almost every organization that produces a product or service. There are numerous additional certifications available that focus in on very specific aspects of product production, particularly in the medical industry, where products can often be a matter of life and death.
Along with Ivaldi Group, we’ve seen several other 3D print companies achieve certifications, such as Sculpteo and Precision ADM. They’re doing this for a reason, and that reason is to enable sales to organizations that require certifications.
With the dramatic increase in metal 3D printing for production purposes, it is highly likely we will see an avalanche of certifications in coming years for any 3D print operation that hopes to sell products to industry.
And as that avalanche occurs, any company that has not obtained certifications will surely drop away from sales opportunities. In other words, this will effectively force any 3D print company to gain certification over time.
What I’m wondering is whether the ISO 9000 storm that is about to overcome larger-scale 3D print companies will wash over any of the smaller 3D print operations.
I’ve seen many smaller 3D printer manufacturers issue products that, frankly, are of questionable quality. For their customers, this is unacceptable. It may be that for them to achieve ISO 9001 certifications would provide some of their customers a bit more confidence in the operation and their products.
Via Ivaldi Group