AMS Spring 2023

Carbon Continues Focus on Production-Scale 3D Printing with New Bulk Materials Pricing

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Carbon is known not only for its industry-changing CLIP 3D printing technology, but for the materials that work with that technology. Carbon’s resins are engineering-grade and programmable, and together with CLIP they have begun making it possible for companies to mass produce end-use parts using 3D printing. These capabilities are making themselves evident through initiatives like that taken on by adidas, which is using Carbon’s technology to create the first mass-produced partially 3D printed shoe, and many others.

Carbon has now announced a new materials program that will offer some of its resins in bulk for a 40% price reduction, which should be of major benefit to high-volume manufacturers. The first material to be offered in bulk will be the company’s rigid polyurethane (RPU 70) resin, which is currently priced at $250 per liter but will be reduced to $150 per liter under the new bulk program. Over the next year, Carbon plans to work with its global supply chain partners to develop novel approaches for distributing resins, and expects to reduce the price to less than $100 per liter.

“This production volume materials approach will allow us to ensure that our partners like adidas, which will be printing thousands or millions of parts, can do so economically compared to other manufacturing methods such as injection molding,” said Carbon CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone. “No other 3D printing company has offered this because they do not have the combination of a complete system for 3D manufacturing combined with first class materials that enable additive manufacturing at scale. Carbon now does offer that complete package.”

We had the opportunity to hear more about today’s announcements directly from the company, as well. We asked Carbon Vice President of Finance Luke Kelly about his thoughts on how the company sees itself leading the way for 3D printing into scale production.

“Historically, production-grade 3D printing polymer resins have been prohibitively expensive for even low to medium volume production applications (tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands per year),” he told 3DPrint.com “By driving reductions in the price of resin materials, Carbon is effectively increasing the number of parts that can now be more efficiently manufactured on Carbon’s technology by millions. The cost reduction benefit is passed to our customers and enabled by Carbon’s ability to establish partnerships with large chemical suppliers; build a global production partner network; leverage economies of scale in production and distribution; and institute new technologies that enable bulk packaging and automated dispensing of resins.”

Carbon MMD

In addition, Carbon is introducing a resin dispensing tool called an MMD, for “meter mix and dispense.” The instrument, which was created as an accessory to Carbon’s SpeedCell system, enables proper dispensing of RPU 70 in bulk quantities. It was developed in partnership with Henkel Adhesive Technologies, a global leader in adhesives, sealants and functional coatings. The Technology House, one of Carbon’s production partners, is already using the MMD.

“We’ve been watching Carbon for some time now, and, as a chemical company, we’re impressed with its innovations in materials as well as its surge into the consumer goods industry,” said Philipp Loosen, Global Head of 3D Printing, Henkel Adhesive Technologies. “We’re delighted to work with such a promising company to develop hardware and materials solutions to bring pioneering technologies like 3D printing to traditional manufacturing and support the expansion of these capabilities to a variety of markets and applications. This is the future.”

The work with Henkel Adhesive Technologies showcases the importance of partnerships to Carbon’s approach to business. We asked Kelly his thoughts on how partnerships have impacted the company’s go-to-market strategies.

“We have been very fortunate to have amazing customers, partners, and investors around the world that have helped shape and accelerate how we go to market,” he told 3DPrint.com. “For example, our subscription model was based on the insight from customers and partners, that service and software would be increasingly important aspects for additive manufacturing. We have a business model that links our success to the success of our partners and customers. In addition, our material partners win when we grow, so we are very well aligned on growing the overall market for Carbon’s breakthrough technology.”

Partners Ford and adidas are some of the first to take advantage of the new bulk pricing and dispensing tool – adidas, in particular, will be using several hundred thousand liters for its Futurecraft 4D shoe.

“Ford shares Carbon’s vision of 3D manufacturing and is actively working with Carbon to accelerate the implementation for automotive applications,” said Dr. Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company.

The new materials program will help Carbon further expand and reach more customers, particularly high-volume manufacturers. While footwear and automotive are among the earliest verticals to use Carbon’s 3D printing technology for scale production, use is set to continue to grow.

Automotive and footwear verticals have traditionally leveraged economies of scale to drive operational efficiencies. We do see a common thread in both verticals as they adopt 3D manufacturing at scale to do faster design iterations and go-to-market faster with new parts or products. At Carbon, we are seeing demand across industry verticals for 3D manufacturing solutions that help create product differentiation through improved functional performance and enable design freedom to create new end-customer experiences through better designed and digitally optimized parts. Additionally,  there are unique production scale opportunities for certain sectors such as industrial, automotive, consumer products, and spare parts where new operational efficiencies can be achieved through part consolidation and reduction in supplier dependencies,” Kelly told 3DPrint.com.

“Some of the other sectors that can benefit from faster design iterations, ability to create product differentiation and better end-customer experience are dental, consumer electronics, medical devices, and multiple foam related applications.”

The company has expanded its operations in Europe by adding several new production partners: Citim and Oechsler in Germany, and Fast Radius and Paragon Rapid Technologies in the UK.

“So many of our customers have been asking for a better, more economical way to produce their parts and products, and we’ve found that with Carbon,” said Phill Adamson, Managing Director at Paragon. “The company’s groundbreaking Digital Light Synthesis additive manufacturing technology has been game changing for the industry because our customers can go from design to production very easily with one technology, which significantly reduces development costs and eliminates tooling requirements. Now with this materials program it gives real scalability for higher volume batch production.”

This week, Carbon is at the TCT Show, which is taking place in Birmingham from September 26 to 28. The company is located at Stand C38, and we’re looking forward to speaking with them in person soon.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts below. 

[Images: Carbon]

 

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