How to build a better end-to-end 3DP design-to-manufacturing platform

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As design for manufacture becomes an increasingly important part of the product development process, manufacturers are looking for integration Design for Manufacturing (DfM) and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfAM) earlier in their life cycle. The goal is to reduce risk during product launch, save time and ensure a seamless transition from prototype to large-scale manufacturing.

After developing large amounts of large-scale 3D printing, 3DEO has expanded its business model to include design and engineering services. 3DEO now offers end-to-end design and manufacturing services using its proprietary platform. The company has adopted the system it uses to design and produce products and is now offering the system to external users.

In this interview, 3EDO President and Co-Founder Matt Sand reveals the details of this system. He explains how it works and what ingredients help users improve their design and production efforts.

Image courtesy of 3DEO9a-matt-sand-scaled.jpg

design news: Explain what goes into creating an end-to-end design-to-manufacturing program for 3D printing.

Matt sand: We work with clients from initial concept to scaled production and everything in between. With the addition of this service, we can now help with a project from the beginning, when the nucleus of an idea for a new or different project first emerges. We can help with idea generation and even offer practical design to solve the most difficult problems.

We have a truly intelligent application engineering team, versed in conventional manufacturing and state-of-the-art 3D printing. For this reason, if there is a better way, we recommend designing or making something conventionally. If it’s possible to use 3D printing to redesign a product to improve performance or significantly reduce overall production costs, we can recommend that as well. In designing for 3D printing, we have developed a proprietary suite of design and production software tools to address these issues. But really, the big differentiator is our team.

DN: Explain what development is all about advanced production technologies.

Matt sand: 3DEO’s Manufacturing Cloud is the end-to-end platform we have been developing over the past six years to offer customers a fully vertically integrated solution. It includes all of the software, hardware, materials, and processes needed to scale to mass production. As far as I know, thanks to the advances we’ve made with Manufacturing Cloud, 3DEO is one of the highest volume metal 3D printing companies in the world.

By adding design services to our offering, we can delve even deeper into a client’s world to help them design consciously for additive manufacturing – and our process in particular. We help them solve their toughest engineering problems and reinvent the potential of what’s possible as they eliminate the design limitations, high cost, and long lead times of conventional manufacturing.

Image courtesy of 3DEO3DEOjpg.jpg

3D printing design-to-manufacturing systems can create objects specifically designed for mass production.

DN: Are these services used by your customers themselves (by accessing your platform) or are these services performed by 3DEO on behalf of customers?

Matt sand: Actually both. We can do everything for a customer, from the development of the first concepts to their construction in CAD and the printing of prototypes to series production. If we’re working with a larger client who has an in-house design team, they might just want to come up with ideas for a series of meetings and keep the designs themselves. When we work with a smaller client who has limited design and engineering resources, they may ask us to do the entire design. We are very flexible in working with our customers.

DN: What triggered this development? customer requests?

Matt sand: Up to this point, we have been working with end-user production customers for many years, directly competing with CNC machining and metal injection molding. Over the years it has become clear that the only way to realize the full potential of additive manufacturing and realize the next generation of products is to develop specifically for additive manufacturing.

It’s one thing to print a part designed for MIM. It’s different and game-changing to approach applications from the start with the attitude that we’re fundamentally rethinking how we solve this problem with the full power of 3D printing. Our customers have been asking us for help for years and we are finally at the stage of our business where we have the resources and expertise in design and application engineering to dive head first with our customers. We can design for them or train them how to think about design to support their team.

DN: Explain the development of this platform. Is it a platform that you used internally and now offer to your customers? Or is it newly developed?

Matt sand: We have evolved our applications team and expertise over the past several years and we have leveraged the team to solve many of our toughest in-house manufacturing challenges. But we’re finally at the stage of our business where we have the resources and design and application engineering expertise to dive headfirst with our customers. We can design for them or train them how to think about design to support their team.

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