USA-based Carbon has introduced SpeedCell, a system of connected products that is claimed to rival traditional manufacturing processes through the minimisation and—in some cases—elimination of the prototyping and tooling stages.
The SpeedCell currently comprises two of Carbon’s products that together provide an effective solution for scalable additive manufacturing (AM), namely:
The system has several Carbon Connector data and power ports for the purpose of accommodating additional hardware and extending capabilities in the future. These have yet to be determined but may, for example, include temperature-controlled resin cassettes for automated resin dispensing.
The M series 3D printers employ Carbon's continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) process, which balances ultraviolet (UV) light and oxygen to rapidly produce parts that have excellent mechanical properties and surface finishes. CLIP, coupled with the SpeedCell, is said to allow for the realization of previously impossible 3D printed designs, including single-part combinations of complex assemblies and un-moldable and un-millable geometries such as lattices.
Launching at the same time as the SpeedCell, the M2 is Carbon's second 3D printer and has been labelled by the company as 'production floor compatible'. The build volume of the M2 is twice that of company's first 3D printer, the M1, at 190 (w) x 118 (d) x 326 (h) millimeters (7.5 x 4.6 x 12.8in), so it is able to produce larger parts or more parts per build. Furthermore, the M2 incorporates 'production-ready' features such as locked printing parameters for validated production runs as well as the option to serialize parts for ensured quality and traceability.
The Smart Part Washer shares a common interface with the M1 and M2 build envelopes so that parts can be passed between it and the 3D printers easily. The build platforms of the M series printers are received by the Smart Part Washer with the 3D printed parts attached. After the parts have been washed and finished, the data that validates completion of the process is routinely tied to the parts' data streams.
Carbon is offering SpeedCell in the following two configurations:
First Radius, in partnership with United Parcel Service (UPS), is a new Carbon customer and one of SpeedCell’s launch partners. Together, First Radius and UPS are creating a global, on-demand AM supply chain. The companies intend to leverage the SpeedCell’s capabilities in order to achieve fast, cost-effective and scalable production of their customers’ products and inventory.
Rick Smith, co-founder of Fast Radius, said: ‘Fast Radius and UPS believe that the introduction of Carbon’s technologies marks a historic point when additive manufacturing truly becomes a production alternative. We are excited to be a SpeedCell launch partner and to integrate the technology into our product design, additive manufacturing and supply chain offerings.’
Dr. Joseph DeSimone, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Carbon, further commented: ‘SpeedCell combines our reliable M series machines, data-rich platform and ever-expanding base of production-quality resins to give our partners the tools to massively change the way they think about design and production.
'For our customers, this means that their product development cycles no longer need to include the antiquated traditional manufacturing process steps of designing, prototyping, tooling and then production. Instead, products can be designed and engineered on a platform that is also the means of production […]’
Additional SpeedCell launch partners include existing customer BMW Group and production partners Dinsmore and Associates, Primary Manufacturing, Sculpteo and The Technology House.
The subscription pricing model for the SpeedCell is similar to the one introduced for the M1, including the same service and support and access to materials. The M1, M2 and Smart Part Washer are priced at 40,000, 50,000 and 10,000 USD per year, respectively.
Carbon will present the SpeedCell at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference, which takes place in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on March 19-23, 2017.