Your smartphone is already one of the most widely used devices you own. From phone calls and texting to checking your social media accounts, finding a quick address or phone number, or listening to your favorite mp3’s — it’s difficult to imagine life without this device, isn’t it? Well, now a French startup, Capturax, has decided to go ahead and further expand your already existing smartphone capabilities into a device that can capture barcode and RFID data, too. And 3D printing helps make this all possible so companies can check product shipping/reception and inventory, develop innovative sale supports, or even integrate mobile payment options. How’s that for expanded smartphone uses?
CaptureSled® is Capturax’s first product, and it is an “all-in-one compact case that integrates high-performance RFID UHF and bar code readers.” This system allows companies to keep CaptureSled® hardware while also being able to replace their mobile equipment when it’s time. 3D printing was used here because the technology could help design a case for any mobile device while the embedded hardware stays consistent through all devices. Saad Skali, Capturax’s co-founder, explains that before his team chose to work with 3D printing, they thought injection molding would be the way to go for manufacturing the cases. Skali soon found out that 3D printing would be cheaper than injection molding. The first investment estimate for just one reference fabrication using injection molding “would have cost roughly 15.000 euros and taken between 4 to 6 weeks in lead time.” Considering the company needed four different molds to develop just one reference, 3D printing became the obvious choice.
3D printing helped Capturax save time and money in this critical product development phase; the technology offered a lead time of a few days, no fixed references, and a far lower cost per unit — eliminating the need for an initial financial commitment. Here, Skali summarizes how Sculpteo’s 3D printing services complement Capturax’s business needs:
“Our products are distinguished by their flexibility and scalability through the use of a patented interchangeable shell (Sled), this allows us to offer our customers the best solution for their application. Such diversity and compactness could not be reached by traditional manufacturing means, so we turned to Sculpteo for the production of our products.”
These cases, which are 3D printed with standard polyamide (nylon) material using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), boast a competitive price ratio and great surface finishes. Also important is that the company does not feel that it had to make any compromises or sacrifices by using 3D printing instead of injection molding. In fact, Capturax claims that the case has almost “the same properties as injection molded polyamide and good surface finishes as the parts can be polished and dyed.”
We see here how Capturax makes a great case (pun intended) for 3D printing, a technology with the potential to save time and money, getting your product from the development phase to market faster than one can possibly even imagine these days. Are you a fan of these types of fabricated items? Discuss in the Capturax 3D Printed Phone Cases forum over at 3DPB.com.