Carbon 3D has successfully produced 3D printers that are poised as a serious alternative to traditional manufacturing methods. Dr DeSimone, Carbon’s CEO and cofounder, describes their Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) process as “a software-controlled chemical reaction to grow parts”. This process could potentially solve the issues faced by existing 3D printing companies by vastly improving printing speed and creating a stronger product with a reduced need for processing after it is printed. Dr DeSimone claims that DLS prints up to 100 times faster than current polymer-based printers in the market.
Plastic injection moulding, a manufacturing process that has been around for almost 150 years may now be finally uprooted. Although injection moulding may be fast and accurate, it usually is only viable when there are very large orders of the same product as moulds can be very costly. 3D printers however, are not restricted by this as the ease of customisation allows a single 3D printer to print a multitude of different products. Be it production in small batches or vast quantities, there is no change in the actual hardware required.
Essentially, this creates a flexibility that no manufacturing technology has been able to provide. Companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere are already collaborating with Carbon to utilise this technology in their spare parts management. The collaboration involves mainly moving physical warehouses chocked with spare parts to the online cloud where their designs can be downloaded and printed wherever and whenever they are needed.
Convenience aside, Spare Parts 3D has shown that 3D printing technology can reduce the cost of spare parts by up to 48%. Even the staunchest critic cannot deny that eventually, with the advancements in 3D printing, it will play an important role in shaping future manufacturing processes.
Spare Parts 3D and Carbon 3D share the common goal of digitalising physical warehouses. We believe 3D printing has a crucial role to play in manufacturing in the near future and seek to build together with our clients, the factories of the future.