ACEO’s Web Shop from A to Z

Image showing Stefanie Hundsrucker holding a translucent, 3D-printed cube

Stefanie Hundsrucker holding a translucent 3D-printed silicone cube (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

In 2016, ACEO® introduced the world’s first web shop for 3D-printed parts made of 100% silicone. Customers all over the world have since benefitted from this revolutionary technology and created prototypes, individualized parts or small series. Stefanie Hundsrucker from ACEO®’s sales team tells us how the steps from first contact to delivery go hand in hand.

Stefanie, how or where do you typically have the first contact with customers?

There are several ways how we get in touch with new customers: Some of them reach out to us directly via email or phone, whereas others first meet us and our technology on one of the shows we attend or through media coverage.

What is the first step to order a 3D-printed silicone part at ACEO®?

Customers who would like to order a silicone part first need to register for our web shop. This way we ensure that all confidential and personal data meet the standards guaranteed and required by WACKER, allowing a smooth workflow from order to delivery.

It only takes a few minutes to create an account. All you need is your name, email, password and your company’s billing address. Once you signed up, the order process is as smooth as in any regular web shop.

Is there anything people should know or consider before they place their order?

We provide information on the order process, design guidelines and a price indication on our web shop page before you register or sign in.

The most important document for new customers is definitely the design guidelines. These guidelines explain about everything you can create with our technology.

What would you consider the most important specifications for customers before placing an order?

Most questions we receive refer to exact measures: ACEO® requires a minimum wall thickness of 1mm, a minimum hole size of 1mm, minimum gaps or edge radii of 2mm, and a minimum size of small details such as labels and fonts of 1mm. The overall size of a part is limited to 200cm3.

Another important parameter is color – we offer a wide range from translucent to graphite black.

Last but not least customers should know that we offer silicones from shore A 20 to A60 hardness.

Our design guidelines summarize all of these data and are really the best reference to look at before uploading your order. If you follow the requirements with your design, you will not face any deviations or issues in the order process. Our web shop was created simple and lean.

What happens if someone does not consult the design guidelines and uploads a file with deviating parameters?

Once you register, log in and upload your file in our supported formats, you will receive a quote.

In case your design does not meet ACEO®’s requirements, you will be informed about deviations or restrictions in our quote. Thus you can adjust your design and receive a new quote.

Image showing a 3D-printed part and the original CAD file in the background

3D-printed part with CAD file in the background showing inner structure, 3D-printed by ACEO® technology (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

What are the steps of an order in ACEO®’s web shop?

After registration, you can upload your file (or up to 12 files), choose the color, hardness and number of your 3D-printed part. These are just a few clicks as you might know from other web shops.

Our quote will be sent to you typically within one business day, depending on factors such as size, number of parts, quality of transferred data etc. Customers can then place their order, pay via Paypal, bankwire or credit card, and will immediately receive a proforma invoice. Your product will be shipped to you 10-15 days after payment receipt.

Why does ACEO® send a quote before the start of production?

Our web shop is designed to ensure perfect output. By uploading your file in this system, our software converts your data into a printable format. This is where our designers and engineers see if your part can be additively manufactured with the desired specifications, and can assess the effort and cost of production.

We do provide price indication but since 3D printing is all about tailor-made products, we need to see the product first before we can determine an exact price. This is why we send a quote that needs to be approved before we can start production.

How does the production process work?

Once we have a confirmed order, we forward it to our operations team.
Then they define a production slot and load your data into our printers.

Image showing a woman mixing colored material in ACEO®'s lab

Employee mixing colored material in ACEO®’s lab (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

What happens after printing?

The operator removes your part, washes off any needed support material, measures the part and initiates the post-curing process.

After post-curing, your part undergoes quality control, where it will be measured again and compared to the specifications of the print file which was created from your upload. The last step in quality control leads to our head of operations, Ralf Mezger. Once he approved the part, it is packaged and shipped by our operators.

Image showing an operator picking up a 3D-printed part

3D-printed part picked up from the building platform after the printing process (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

Are there hidden shipping costs?

Definitely not. All costs including required documents such as customs declaration etc. are included in our quote. We typically ship with DHL Express. Once your part is shipped, you will receive a shipping confirmation from ACEO®.

Registration, quote, payment, production and shipping can take approximately 20 days altogether. Would you consider this a long process?

Our products are used in a variety of industries – from automotive to medical or lifestyle. We take our responsibility to be in line with ethical and legal requirements very seriously. In order to achieve transparency and traceability we engage internationally recognized certification companies to provide an objective assessment. We fulfill the current and local requirements as well as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001. In order to ensure highest quality standards, we need to follow a certain process in the production of 3D-printed parts.

If you go for other technologies like injection molding, it will take months and a much bigger financial investment to create a mold and finally receive your silicone part.

In a nutshell: 20 days for a tailor-made product made of 100% silicone meeting highest industry standards is not a long process at all.

Image showing a 3D-printed silicone part being prepared for the post-curing process

3D-printed silicone part in preparation for the post-curing process (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

Have you ever had negative feedback on delivered products?

So far, the only issue was that customers uploaded designs that did not meet our requirements (such as minimum wall thickness), did not read our non-conformity notification in the quote and ordered nonetheless.

Apart from this misunderstanding, we are very proud that our customers are happy with the quality products we deliver.

Image showing an operator doing the last measurements before the process is completed

Quality control after the printing process (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)