Carbon’s idea-to-production platform transforms product development » 3D Printing Media Network
One of the main things that has made 3D printing such a compelling manufacturing technology is its ability to improve and speed up product development cycles. With it, designers and companies can bring new product ideas to life and explore entirely new designs that would have been impossible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing. A company that demonstrates, and even encapsulates, this dynamic of transformation is Carbon. The California-based company has worked with numerous customers and partners in the consumer, automotive, and dental industries, among others, leveraging its 3D printing-based idea-to-production platform to drive innovation in product design and manufacturing.
Hardware, hardware and software
Carbon is a clear leader in the polymer additive manufacturing industry, having demonstrated the capability of its technology for mass manufacturing (i.e. through its partnership with adidas). But that’s not the only area where he excels. The company’s idea-to-production platform provides end users with the tools to come up with new product ideas and bring them to life, from high-performance bicycle saddles to dental aligners custom or high tolerance automotive components.
At the heart of Carbon’s idea-to-production platform is the company’s patented Carbon Digital Light Synthesis™ (Carbon DLS™) technological process. The 3D printing process uses a combination of digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics, and UV-curable resins to produce dense, high-quality polymer parts. Today, the company offers five 3D printer models based on its DLS process: the entry-level M1, the performance M2, the large-format L1, and the recently launched new generation of M-Series printers, the M3. and the M3 Max with next-gen DLS. These systems are complemented by other hardware, such as the Smart Part Washer for high-throughput part finishing, and an ecosystem of solution partners.
3D printers are only part of the equation, however. Carbon is also known for its diverse selection of proprietary and third-party materials, which are essential for unlocking all sorts of new applications. In its engineering portfolio, the company offers dozens of resin options, including EPX 82, a high-strength material with properties comparable to 20% glass-filled PBT; EPU 41, a flexible and tear-resistant material comparable to commercial TPUs; and MPU 100, a biocompatible material with good chemical resistance. It also offers a dedicated dental portfolio comprising over a dozen resin materials, suitable for applications such as dentures, dental models, splints, trays, crowns and bridges.
Software is also essential, as it allows engineers and product designers to take their ideas from concept to finished product.. Just a few months ago, Carbon released the latest version of Design Engine™, a software solution that generates complex network geometries. The platform, now availableble to any designer (not just Carbon printer subscribers), makes it easy to design and create 3D printed products optimized for comfort, weight, or performance. For example, Specialized Bicycles used Carbon Design Engine to reinvent the traditional bicycle saddle to improve support and comfort for the rider’s sit bones. Specialized was able to infinitely tune the density of the material in a way not possible with foam, resulting in a seat that was more comfortable and supportive than traditional foam seats, thanks to its multi-zone lattice geometries and programmable resins.
Not just a customer, a partner
While hardware, materials and software are a necessary combination for any successful additive manufacturing solution, Carbon’s idea-to-production platform is distinguished by the company’s subscription model. In other words, rather than simply purchasing its 3D printing hardware, Carbon’s customers become subscribers to the company’s technology platform. This means they can benefit from continuously updated software that offers support for new materials, improved efficiency and better part quality, and comprehensive support services.
Carbon’s subscription-based model is built on the knowledge that the AM industry is constantly changing, which means the hardware and software solutions that exist today are at risk of becoming obsolete, even in the future. close. By giving its customers access to regular software updates, Carbon aims to limit the risk of obsolescence and ensure that its customers are always up to date.
“Regular software updates mean improved printer functionality (eg print speed, accuracy, texturing, etc.) and always a state-of-the-art machine,” the company explains. “We periodically introduce new high-performance 3D printing materials after hundreds of hours of internal material validation, and we can provide tested parameters to our customers remotely to work with them, expanding the capabilities of our platform. long after initial installation, with great confidence the materials can perform on their first impression. And predictive maintenance and real-time customer service means seamless troubleshooting and increased machine uptime. Unlike other technologies, Carbon’s subscription model means our relationship begins at installation and only grows with our customers from there.
Carbon has a strong vision that is already being realized, where its technology enables people to realize new designs and products that would not have been possible using traditional workflows and production methods. Notably, Carbon’s solution is not only suitable for product design and development; The scalable nature of DLS technology means companies can easily move from product development to full-scale manufacturing when the time comes without changing the manufacturing process or materials.
We’ve seen many examples of successful implementations of this approach, from US sporting goods company Rawlings bringing to market a new and improved baseball glove with 3D-printed stabilizers, to hockey equipment company CCM Improving Hockey Helmet Impact Resistance With Lattice Architectures, At Blender Specialist Vitamix uses technology from Carbon to redesign and deploy a 10x more durable rinse nozzle for commercial applications.
In addition to opening up new avenues for improving product design, Carbon’s idea-to-production platform also unlocks efficiencies. For example, the 10x more durable Vitamix nozzle is also 30% more economical than the previous design. In the dental segment, Protec Dental Laboratories, a Canadian digital dental technology company, has revolutionized the production of orthodontic night guards using Carbon’s M2 platform. By directly 3D printing the devices, the company experienced a 50% increase in daily production as well as a 66% decrease in manual labor (and associated costs). This is in addition to the fact that 3D printed night guards are also more accurate and less bulky than their analog counterparts.
The list of Carbon case studies is long: the company has truly positioned itself strategically as a provider of viable solutions for the production of polymer parts. We can also turn to the automotive sector, where Lamborghini has been using Carbon’s technology since 2018 to produce fuel caps and air duct clips for the Urus Super SUV. The Italian sports car manufacturer is also exploring the use of Carbon 3D printing to optimize the production of other vehicle parts.
Overall, the goal of Carbon’s idea-to-production platform is to become the engine that propels breakthrough results. As the company says, “Carbon allows you to quickly explore and realize your best ideas. We are leading the way to a more open, connected and sustainable world of manufacturing that will improve all of our lives.
This article was published in collaboration with Carbon.