Additive Manufacturing Strategies

NoiseAware Makes Some Noise (But Not Too Much) About Ultimaker 3D Printers

ST Medical Devices

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By a certain age, many people have likely either had the police called on them for making too much noise on their properties, or called the police themselves to report their neighbors. It’s especially a hazard in apartments and other rental situations. It’s often an innocent issue – people are simply having too much fun at a party, and don’t even notice that the music and voices have been slowly raising in decibel level. These are mostly relatively easy visits for police to make, compared to some of the other issues they have to deal with, but they also take up valuable time when there are more serious problems out there.

It would be great if landlords could deal with noise issues before the police had to be called, but often overly annoyed neighbors reach for the phone to call the cops before making property management aware of the situation. That’s where a startup called NoiseAware comes in. Geared toward the owners of Airbnb and other rental properties, the NoiseAware system alerts property management when noise levels exceed the requirements for quiet hours, allowing them to address the issue before the police are called.

NoiseAware has been selling its product for over a year and is now working on the next generation, but found itself facing an issue of cost. It cost $20,000 to outsource its initial prototyping process, and about $800 per part, so the startup was looking for a way to handle the prototyping itself, in-house, for a lower cost. NoiseAware found a solution in Ultimaker 3D printers, specifically the Ultimaker 3.

By rapidly prototyping parts on the Ultimaker 3, NoiseAware was able to quickly test and remake parts as needed before final production, eliminating the risk of problems further down the line. The company was able to reduce costs from $800 to under $10 per part, and reduced overall production time from days to hours.

“If we didn’t use 3D printing on Ultimaker to assist our product development, we’d either take 10 times longer to test the product—which opens the door for a competitor—or we’d roll the dice by going to a manufacturer with less testing under our belt,” said Garrett Dobbs, Head of Product at NoiseAware.

Using 3D printers, NoiseAware was able produce functional prototypes for field testing with customers to improve design, acoustic performance, system architecture, device provisioning, radio frequency transmission and more. In addition to saving time and making sure that everything is perfected before sending the product to vendors for final production, the company was also able to provide working prototypes to customers, potential investors, and vendors to demonstrate the value of the product.

“The cost of completing our required prototyping with a vendor would have covered the cost of the Ultimaker four times over by now,” concluded Dobbs.

NoiseAware’s situation is one of many examples of 3D printing reducing cost and time of prototyping, allowing products to be fine-tuned, finished and placed on the shelves much more quickly and cheaply than with traditional prototyping. And for owners of Airbnb and other rental properties, a product such as this one likely couldn’t have arrived soon enough.

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

[Source/Images: Ultimaker]

 

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