The long-term promise of 3D Printing has always been using the technology to replace traditional manufacturing as a way to make production parts. The various technologies that are considered Additive Manufacturing have been fantastic for prototyping and making tools that are used to manufacturing end-use parts, but rarely work well for production. Carbon is literally turning the 3D printing world upside down by introducing real production capabilities with their systems. And now that PADT has joined Carbon’s Production Partner Program, on-demand manufacturing using 3D Printing is now a reality in the Southwestern US.
The Production Partner program establishes vetted service providers with 3D Printing and manufacturing experience as manufacturing centers. This allows customers who are early adopters of CARBON’s exciting technology, to find a trusted source for their production parts. PADT was chosen to participate because of our twenty-plus years of experience as a 3D Printing service provider and more than $5,000,000 in injection molding projects, along with in-house product development, scanning, simulation, and inspection.
PADT will be adding three Carbon M2 printers to our existing 3D Printing facility at our main office in the ASU Research Park in Tempe, Arizona. The first two machines will be available for production in early 2018, and the third machine will be online by early summer. Customers will then be able to order production quality parts in volume and receive them within a week. PADT’s investment and this partnership make the dream of On Demand manufacturing of complex plastic components a reality.
“We have been looking for a low volume plastic manufacturing solution that uses 3D Printing for some time.” Said Rey Chu, co-owner of PADT “Since we started the company we have been providing soft tooling and rapid injection molding. Once we saw the Carbon DLS technology in action, we knew we found our solution. The part quality and material properties are as close to injection molded as we have ever seen.”
About Carbon’s Disruptive Technology
Carbon has introduced a revolutionary way to 3D Print plastic components called Digital Light Synthesis, or DLS. It combines their proprietary continuous printing technology with programmable liquid resins to create parts with the same strength and surface finish of injection molded parts. The part creation is fast because it is a continuous process, whereas most 3D Printing machines build up one layer at a time with pauses in-between. This continuous process is not only fast, but it also avoids the stair-steps created with layered methods. This results in textured surfaces and a surface finish that no other process can approach.
Programmable materials are the other technology that enables production quality parts. This unique approach joins two liquid resins as the build material; one that hardens with light and the other with heat. The 3D Printer creates the desired geometry of the part by using light to shape the first material. Then a second step uses an oven to harden the heat activated resin, resulting in engineering-grade mechanical properties. Moreover, since the strength comes from a heat cured resin, the properties are the same in every direction. Most 3D Printed parts that use a layered approach are weaker in the build direction. The other significant advantage of including heat activated resins is that they offer a much broader material selection than light activated resins.
PADT’s On-Demand Manufacturing Service
In the past, when PADT’s customers needed parts manufactured with production quality, surface finish, and strength we had to use soft tooling or low-volume injection molding. Both are expensive and take time to make tools. 3D printing is leveraged to make those tools faster, but it still takes time and labor. Production manufacturing could benefit from going directly from a computer model to a finished part, as we do with prototyping. When we first saw an early Carbon sample part we knew that this was a technology we needed to watch. As the technology matured further, it became obvious that this was the process PADT was looking for – this was the type of end-use part our customers were requesting. Then, when the Production Partner program was introduced, we knew we needed to take part.
Our On-Demand Manufacturing service will be built around the Carbon Digital Light Synthesis process. Initially, we will use three Carbon M2 systems, a cleaning station, and a curing oven. This will be placed in the middle of our existing advanced manufacturing facility, allowing us to add machining, hand finishing, painting, and other post-processing steps into each production process as needed.
What sets PADT’s offering apart from other providers of production manufacturing with 3D Printing is that we also provide full product development, simulation, and part scanning services to help customers make sure their designs are correct. Before parts are made, we can use our simulation and design knowledge to make sure everything is correct before production begins. And when the parts are completed, we can use our advanced scanning to inspect and our product development testing to verify performance. By adapting our proven quality to this new technology, we can ensure that every step is done correctly and traceability exists.
You do not have to wait till our production line is up and running. We can start working with customers now on getting their parts ready for manufacturing with Carbon’s breakthrough Digital Light Synthesis. Our experienced staff can evaluate your components and find the best fit, recommend design changes, and work with Carbon to produce samples. And when our line is up, you can hit the ground running and obtain your parts on-demand, when you need them.
Take part in the transition of manufacturing to faster, better, and on demand by contacting PADT today to learn more.