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Tronix3D Maintains Eligibility for Current and Future DOD Business

Tronix3D is Pittsburgh’s first high-volume 3D/additive manufacturing contract manufacturer and innovation center. Starting with Pittsburgh’s first HP 4200 Multi Jet Fusion Printing Technology, Tronix3D now has a wide range of capabilities in both polymers and metals producing prototypes or thousands of parts up to 10 times faster than other systems, which allows them to deliver parts with rapid turnaround times. He company was started by its President, Mr. Buck Helfferich and Kyle Metsger, Director of Technology and Innovation.  Mr. Helfferich is a serial Entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in contract manufacturing using traditional, subtractive methods for precision machined parts.  Buck recognized a gap in the marketplace for rapid prototyping and production services using additive manufacturing processes and started Tronix3D just a few years ago. In their first year of operation, they supplied custom parts to more than 10 industries including healthcare, defense, and aerospace. The company has pride in their focus on the customer’s best interest, always looking to improve cost, workflow, and operations, and they have already grown to 5employees with significant additional opportunities for growth.

Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) is a rapidly growing, advanced technology with a relentless pace of innovation.  Anyone that wants to succeed in this sector must have a responsive technology platform in place to engage with customers, provide engineered solutions, manage projects, and manage the business.  Tronix3D’s customer base was growing, and customers were demanding customized products and services, using 3D printing processes to streamline and grow their mass customization and build-to-order product strategies. Tronix3D recognized the need for better business software, in particular assistance with customer relationship management (CRM) implementation and associated business processes to streamline all aspects of customer service.  Tronix3D also has a significant opportunity to grow its business with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), however, they must demonstrate compliance with DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). While critical to our national defense, certification to the CMMC can be quite challenging and expensive for a small company. To accomplish these initiatives, they enlisted the support of Catalyst Connection, alongside industry partners such as Paperless Parts, Intech Solutions, and ProShop.

Catalyst Connection provided technical and financial support to Tronix3D to implement new business software, and to evaluate systems and infrastructure against the requirements of the CMMC.  The first step in preparing for CMMC was to complete an assessment against the 110 controls outlined in NIST SP 800-171, and they are now pursuing the CMMC certification.

As a result of the assistance received, Tronix3D successfully implemented a CRM, and significantly improved associated business pricing strategies around estimating and quoting.  This included improvements in setting up cost structures with calculations of machine run time, machine cost per hour, material usage cost, overhead percentages, and margins that tie to a final competitive sell price.  They also implemented ITAR Controls for quoting that meet NIST requirements, and a strategy to gain customer feedback.  Using these advanced techniques, Tronix3D documented their compliance to recognized cybersecurity standards, improved overall outreach strategies to communicate their new capabilities and compliance standards to defense supply chain members.  The initial benefits of Catalyst’s support, resulted in Tronix3D reporting over $124,000 of economic impact, including $21,000 in new sales, $10,000 in retained sales, $93,000 of investments, one new job created, and one job retained.  The ongoing benefits of this program have moved Tronix3D into a leading position as a premier model of manufacturing excellence in a rapidly growing industry.

Tronix3D represents an advanced manufacturing company that is growing and well positioned to add high paying family sustaining jobs.  Tronix3D has an aggressive growth strategy.  An important element of that strategy is a desire to become an established, growing supplier to the DOD.  Although the requirements are being phased in over the next five years, by law all suppliers must be in compliance with CMMC to be eligible for new business.  By aggressively pursuing CMMC, Tronix3D will position themselves to build upon their current DOD business, and ensure their eligibility for future business.

The most recent regulatory notice from the DOD requires suppliers to report their NIST 800-171 assessment results, and their plan to achieve full compliance with the requirements, as a prerequisite for DOD business.  With Catalyst Connection’s support, Tronix3D has completed the required assessment and documented their plan.  This is a necessary first step that allows Tronix3D to maintain eligibility for current and future DOD business, and to support their plans for growth.