High-volume, customized manufacturing becomes a reality

Sometimes technological developments are born out of necessity—you have a need, you fill it. But other times technological developments trigger new needs and ideas altogether. 3D printing, for example, really got people thinking about highly customized, highly complex parts. Now, we’re putting it on the fastest track yet to fulfill the promise of highly personalized, mass volume production with 3D printing.

3D Systems is proud to release some of the first details about our new high-speed, continuous fab-grade printer, an advance that sets a new bar for mass-customization product manufacturing. Whereas 3D printers typically utilize a moving printhead on a stationary bed, the high-speed, continuous fab-grade printer puts the print bed in motion on speedy track system under a set of stationary printheads. The result is a 3D printing assembly line: many products printing at once, all unique, all in full color and multi materials. Parts in varying phases of completion move in a continuous flow. When a part is done, it exits the track for post-processing and a new print bed takes its place. This is high-speed, custom, continuous, and fully automated  manufacturing at its best.

This new standard in 3D printing is the engine behind the production of module shells for Google’s Project Ara, the initiative to create a modular smartphone that reflects each person’s unique style as well as choice of functional modules. With this level of speed and accuracy, people will be able to customize the look of their own phone to an extent never before possible. But the high-speed, continuous fab-grade printer’s potential doesn’t stop at cell phones. Take a look at this video to see how far 3D printing has come and how quickly it’s going forward with this high-speed fab-grade platform for the future.

This is part of a series of videos from 3DS that demonstrate how its fab-grade printers can manufacture thousands of parts at speeds comparable to traditional injection molding operations. Look at how 3DS is already breaking speed limits today with fab-grade 3D printers that effectively match and exceed the productivity of traditional injection molding in the direct manufacture of functional parts. This breakthrough opens up the possibility of just-in-time, high volume, flexible additive manufacturing using the company’s precision Stereolithography (SLA®) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS®) advanced manufacturing printers, enabling manufacturers to produce functional, precision parts in seconds, without the need for tooling or a lengthy supply chain.