It’s been exactly two years since Carbon appeared seemingly out of nowhere with their industry-changing M1 3D printer and CLIP 3D printing technology. The introduction of the technology altered the 3D printing industry in a way that nothing else has done in quite some time, bringing never-before-seen printing speed and end-use-quality polymer parts to the market. While excitement about Carbon’s first 3D printer has barely died down in these past couple of years, today the company made a huge announcement: they’re releasing their second printer plus a lot more.
The Carbon M2, with a build volume of 7.5 x 4.6 x 12.8″ (190 x 118 x 326 mm), is twice the size of the M1, while offering the same 75 µm resolution. The new printer is only one part of Carbon’s new release, though. The company is introducing what they’re calling SpeedCell, a system of connected products that form a complete, end-to-end additive manufacturing solution including software, hardware, materials, service and support.
Other than the M2, the key new component being introduced as part of SpeedCell is the Smart Part Washer, a novel machine that automatically cleans parts in a fast, repeatable, environmentally friendly and part-specific manner. SpeedCell has two configurations: Design SpeedCell, which combines an M1 or M2 3D printer with a Smart Part Washer and allows designers and engineers to rapidly iterate product concepts; and Production SpeedCell, which is specifically designed for industrial manufacturing and combines multiple production floor-compatible M2 printers with a Smart Part Washer. The two configurations can also work together: a Design SpeedCell located within a company can electronically share designs and standard operating procedures with Production SpeedCells located either within the same facility or externally (at other branches of the company, at third parties such as service bureaus, etc). Each component can also be purchased individually.
According to Carbon, the combination of CLIP technology and the SpeedCell system allows for the production of previously impossible designs, such as complex assemblies combined into a single part, or lattices that can’t be produced by milling or molding. It also minimizes the tooling and prototyping stages of the design process and enables manufacturers to go directly to end-stage production. 3DPrint.com had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Joseph DeSimone, co-founder and CEO of Carbon, about the new system:
Why did Carbon decide to upend traditional manufacturing?
It was a decision that’s been made in working closely with our customers and partners. Over the last couple of years, we have been selling the idea (and reality) of producing real parts using CLIP technology. The launch of SpeedCell is an extension of that. We are doing something very different here. There is a fundamental shift in the manufacturing process. Traditionally it’s been design, prototype, tool, produce. When you think about 3D printing up to this point, everyone has been designing parts on a fabrication tool that doesn’t allow you to scale it up. That’s prototyping. But we’re finding with our customers, when you design on the means of production, you can eliminate prototyping and tooling stages altogether.
How have Carbon’s launch partners found the SpeedCell solution beneficial to their production processes?
Our customers are just beginning to experience its benefits of the integrated system so testimonials should be available soon. But from our own experience using the SpeedCell, it is game-changing!
What kinds of enhancements in terms of production process speed have the launch partners recorded?
Product design cycles are dramatically accelerated (because the prototyping and tooling steps are eliminated). Parts are washed very effectively in a reproducible manner improving consistency, quality and reducing manual labor costs.
Other than the doubled build volume, what sets the new M2 apart from the M1 3D printer?
The M2 was designed and made with manufacturers in mind. The larger build volume allows our customers to produce more parts and/or larger parts than they could before, which speeds up the production process and makes CLIP technology scalable for a manufacturing environment. Additionally, the M2 will allow for things like part serialization, which is especially useful in fields like healthcare and medical device manufacturing because you can ensure part quality and traceability.
How does the Smart Part Washer offer an improvement to post-processing?
It is automated and reduces labor costs, improves quality, and allows for solvent recovery for improved environmental stewardship.
What industries/applications specifically does the SpeedCell system target?
We’re targeting manufacturers in general and there is probably no type of manufacturer we wouldn’t want to work with. This system is for those that want to stay ahead of the game, those that want to become more cost-efficient by minimizing prototyping and tooling stages of traditional design and manufacturing processes. Carbon has already shown that its products are set to revolutionize multiple industries, including industrial design, healthcare, automotive, and more.
SpeedCell, according to Carbon, was a direct response to the needs of their customers and strategic partners, including BMW and General Electric. A few new customers have also been brought on as launch partners for SpeedCell, including Fast Radius in partnership with UPS, a pairing that began last year. Additional SpeedCell launch partners include Dinsmore and Associates, Sculpteo, Primary Manufacturing, and The Technology House.
SpeedCell is being marketed with the same subscription model that Carbon used for the M1, with prices as following:
- M1: $40,000 per year
- M2: $50,000 per year
- Smart Part Washer: $10,000 per year
- SpeedCell Bundle (available until the end of 2017): Includes a free Smart Part Washer with three or more M Series printers