Heather Miksch

VP of Field and Product Operations, Carbon Inc.

Supernova Award Category: 

Internet of Things

The Company: 

Carbon Inc. works at the intersection of hardware, software, and molecular science, developing revolutionary manufacturing processes. Their 3D printers have reinvented how products are designed, produced, and delivered across all industries (auto, aerospace, healthcare, and consumer). Carbon’s unique Digital Light Synthesis technology harnesses light and oxygen to rapidly produce objects from a pool of resin. This process eliminates manufacturing prototyping inefficiencies of traditional 3D printing, creating prints 25-100% faster using polymer materials that rival injection molding. Embracing a unique hardware-as-a-service model, Carbon offers its IoT connected printers on a subscription basis–a contract that includes unparalleled customer support and professional services.

The Problem: 

Carbon has disrupted the manufacturing industry with its revolutionary 3D printing technology. The company wanted to develop a game-changing customer experience strategy that followed suit.

While most capital equipment companies focus on meeting (or beating) industry standards, Carbon wanted to obliterate them. For example, instead of responding to customer service issues, Carbon wanted to predict them before they even occurred.  

Carbon sought to further differentiate itself by crafting personalized experiences for its customers at every touch point. In doing so, they aimed to establish a level of trust among their customers, akin to a business partnership–an unprecedented relationship in the capital equipment industry.

The Solution: 

To reach this goal, Carbon leveraged data from their IoT enabled printers.

Every second of the day, machine data flows from the printers into Carbon’s databases. Additionally, operational data is collected directly from a feedback system integrated in the printer’s user interface. Here, an impressive 30% of customers give ratings on every single print job. This information is automatically routed to different departments within Carbon. It is also summarized in a report that the CEO, VP of Engineering, and VP of Materials review on a nightly basis.

This network of IoT data opens tickets in Oracle Service Cloud, alerts agents of predictive machine maintenance, enhances knowledge bases (like user guides and training guides), and impacts marketing, development, and sales initiatives.

By combining real-time data with intrinsic customer feedback, Carbon sought to not only improve product functionality, but also drive immediate and personalized customer experiences.

The Results: 

IoT data lets Carbon remotely perform diagnostics on its printers. It automatically opens an Oracle Service Cloud ticket when an issue arises. Constant monitoring allows agents to resolve issues before a customer is aware of them and before they cause disruptive downstream impacts on manufacturing schedules.

When customers do engage with an agent via the printer’s Request Help button, chat, email, or phone–agents are already armed with print job and machine information, requiring little manual input. They can proactively determine if a customer needs additional training, or if the machine’s hardware needs attention.

Beyond customer service, printer data drives a real-time supply chain, ensuring that field techs have the necessary equipment to make on-site hardware fixes and that customers never run out essential printing materials.

Carbon’s Product Team employs this data to prioritize development projects, deciding whether to augment existing tools or create new features based on customer feedback and usage.

Marketing and sales teams use the data to monitor customer behavior across different industries. They can fine tune changes in marketing campaigns and sales initiatives on a daily basis, rather than waiting to digest monthly reports.

The IoT connectivity and data has positively impacted the consumer experience across all touch points, positioning Carbon as an industry leader in not only manufacturing technologies but CX as well.


Over the past two years, Carbon has employed the Oracle Service Cloud and IoT infrastructure to move from reactive to predictive customer service. This intelligent routing has allowed Carbon to divide its customer service agents into reactive and proactive groups, at a 1:4 ratio.

Furthermore, they’ve been able to predict 70% of hardware failures, detecting issues before a customer notices the problem. In fact, many of these are fixed remotely without requiring an on-site visit. When field technicians do visit customers, they have seen a 100% success rate of having the required equipment on hand to fix the machine–an unheard of statistic in the capital equipment industry.

Using combined data from the printer, sales orders, and service calls, Carbon’s Sales Team can prioritize efforts, pinpointing customers who might be in the market for an expansion printer.

Carbon currently enjoys a 9.4 CSAT score—up a full point prior to the integration roll out.

The Technology: 

Carbon’s M1 and M2 printers combined with integrations with Splunk, Oracle Service Cloud, and Jira.

Disruptive Factor: 

Using sensors and data to predict machine failures is not new. The nuclear power industry, for example, does not wait for a melt down and then call their service engineer. Engineers can see the failure is imminent. What is new and disruptive, is using this technology for B2B capital equipment, monitored by an outside company.

Currently, no other 3D printing company offers this type of predictive service. Few capital equipment companies offer this type of prediction.

But this IoT data isn’t just for hardware failures, it enhances the entire customer experience. Carbon’s service agents analyze operational data to determine if customers need proactive outreach or if they might be in the market for an additional instrument. The IoT data collected also includes resin usage statistics (which Carbon sells as a consumable), and the company can employ that real-time data as part of the business to forecast resin purchases.

Challenges include working with customers’ IT organizations to create a connection between the printer on their network to Carbon’s network. To address this, Carbon’s software and IT team work closely with customers prior to the installation to ensure that their IT teams understands the safeguards Carbon puts in place to secure customer information. Once the connection is established, Carbon is able to add more printers onto a corporate network without problems.

Shining Moment: 

Carbon is changing the way the world makes things. We're proud of how many industries and people this impacts. For example, with Adidas, we’re creating custom-tailored midsoles, bringing personalization of footwear to a mass scale–upending the industry. On the other hand, we work with dental and orthodontic labs to create patient-specific dental models, 10 times faster. The applications of our technology and unique customer service strategy are seemingly endless.

About Carbon Inc.

Carbon, based in Silicon Valley, empowers its customers to use 3D printing to produce at scale by revolutionizing how they design, engineer, make and deliver their products. Carbon’s solutions unlock new business opportunities such as mass customization, on-demand inventory and differentiated products made with unique functional materials. To learn more, visit www.Carbon3D.com.