ThinKing May 2021 - An offer in just 10 clicks: Online shopping for lightweight CNC components



Astoundingly simple and lightning fast: Ordering CNC components via an online platform – Instawerk is receiving the ThinKing for May 2021 for this idea and for their well-thought out implementation.

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The concept delivers decisive benefits for lightweight design developers who “just need” one CNC component – such as a cost savings of 20 percent and an enormous time savings in the purchasing process. The online platform quickly handles requests that in the past would have meant a wait time of several weeks. Just upload a CAD file, calculate the price, place an order – and two days later, the component is delivered to incoming goods.

The Baden-Württemberg State Agency for Lightweight Design will present the ThinKing for this innovation in May of 2021. Each month, Leichtbau BW GmbH uses this label to award innovative lightweight design products or services from Baden-Württemberg.

At a glance:

  • Cost-efficient sourcing of lightweight CNC components or rapid prototyping in lightweight design development
  • Fast: A component price in ten clicks, and express delivery in two days
  • Simple: Everything from a single source – one contractual and contact partner, from order to delivery
  • High quality: Bundling orders from specialists 

“We are the Amazon of CNC machining” says Marcel Erich, one of Instawerk’s founders. He’s not setting the bar too high – the founding team has succeeded in covering a real need in lightweight design with their online procurement platform for CNC components. Instawerk users save cost, work steps and time. The platform allows designers, developers and engineers to upload CAD models of their components to an online screen and configure them directly. That might not sound like a spectacular advancement. These kinds of tools are already available on some websites. This online platform, however, is special because of what happens next. The user receives a cleanly calculated price for their lightweight component immediately, and can then order it as in a classic online shop, or request a commercial offer. Ordered components are manufactured by CNC partner firms. Immediate, competitive pricing calculation is possible because Instawerk is not only a middleman, but rather the contractual partner – for both the companies that need a CNC component and the companies offering milling services.

Lightweight design comes standard

Often, different prototypes or small series runs are required when developing lightweight components. Because of this, Instawerk offers a variety of lightweight materials that can be used to produce components. From metals such as 7000 series high-strength aluminium alloys (including AW-7075) or titanium, to high-performance plastics like PEEK, a comprehensive material portfolio is available. Tool steels are also available for other lightweight design applications. This material can be used, for example, to easily order complex moulding tools for thermoplastic composite manufacturing with fast online availability.

Enormous time savings

Generally, the purchasing process for CNC parts follows a classic pattern: The ordering company requests offers from a variety of milling services, and the wait time begins for them to come in. Upon receipt, these have to be reviewed, compared, and assessed for expected component quality before the order can be awarded. This whole process can easily take up to ten weeks to complete. Machining can mean additional delays Since companies are usually ordering just a few components, while the CNC company is often handling different orders from multiple customers and juggling aspects like cost, material or machine capacity – faster individual manufacturing results in a surcharge. Not with Instawerk: Ordering companies have just a single contact partner, and complete just a single inquiry – via the online platform. Feature recognition, machine assignment and order coordination are handled automatically via a CAD cloud solution with a server located in Germany, offering the highest level of data security. Since it is an online platform with automatic pricing calculation, the milling service is available 24/7. If customers need parts urgently, then guaranteed express delivery within two days is also available. This can mean a decisive time advantage for many lightweight design developments. In addition, lightweight design solutions can be evaluated online to compare costs by placing inquiries to Instawerk during the development process. That makes lightweight design affordable and easy to plan.

High quality, even for small companies

Instawerk stands for high component quality, by acting as the contractual partner to the ordering company. Instead of being produced individually, the order is bundled as one of many and submitted to specialised CNC milling companies. However, CNC machining companies also benefit greatly from this “Amazon system”, one reason they are so keen to participate in it. They receive consistent, reasonably bundled orders – from a single partner. That means less time and cost for administration and better utilisation of machine capacity, significant advantages for milling service providers that participate in the system.  Instawerk passes on administrative and organisational savings directly to the customer. Prices are on average roughly one fifth less than competitors. That is an important argument for smaller companies, who can benefit from specialised processors and good availability, despite small order quantities. Instawerk is used primarily by research and development departments, as well as increasingly by smaller and mid-sized companies that want to increase production.

About Instawerk

Instawerk is an online platform for CNC machining and purchasing CNC components. The company offers digitised machined part production. Customers can access a modern fleet of milling machinery both online and offline. An engineering team is available for questions and to clarify inquiries – for example on design and simulation-related issues.