The product development and manufacturing industry has seen incredible advances in the past two decades with 3D printing getting the majority of the public’s attention.
Products find their way into people’s hands through stages that are invisible to most. They start as a sketch, someone builds a model, and then eventually they are mass produced at large facilities in the U.S. or abroad. That process has been changed several times over and so far most publicly by the 3D printer.
The Role of 3D Printers
People got really excited about 3D printing and its capabilities, for good reason. It’s been responsible for speeding up innovation in so many areas and that is what it’s best at so far.
Unfairly, many have started to lose their patience with the technology, wanting to have items appear in end-use resolution with multiple materials like something out of StarTrek®. The technology just isn’t there yet. However, 3D printing plays a very important role in how products get to market. They allow designers to fairly quickly work out proofs-of-concept and express ideas with something in the real world and not just a model in Solidworks®. There is great value in that. Here is a great graphic from a study that Stratasys has conducted on current 3D printer use.
The Role of Injection Molding
At the other end of the process is Injection Molding. Unlike 3D printing, most of the public has no clue what it is. This process is responsible for the production of so many of the products we see in our world. So far, injection molding has proved to be the tool to generate high quality parts in large quantities. Huge machines the size of an SUV compress urethane resins and other materials, forming them up into the products we buy everyday. The benefits of this process come with significant investments from manufacturers so jumping from proof-of-concept to production on this scale has been time consuming, expensive, and often inefficient.
The Role of the BetaJet T1.
BetaJet is looking to change this transition for product developers whether they work in a product development studio or are trying to launch an idea on kickstarter.com while working from their basement. It’s bridging the gap between two technologies.
Currently, if you want to get a small quantity of parts injection molded you have a few options online that can help but you’re going to pay significant per part costs which add up quickly.
Low Volume and Just-in-time Production
The other advantages achieved by using the T1 platform is eliminating the need to manage large inventories. Parts can be produced in as little as 5 minutes, trimmed out, and are ready to be used.
Field Replacement Parts
For many companies keeping replacement parts on hand is a problem. Bringing this technology to the field would allow companies to keep the molds and resins for their parts on hand allowing them to mold them as needed.