You likely lock your doors as you leave the office at the end of the day and surely have systems in place to keep your network safe from prying eyes – so why do you send your cutting edge designs out to a job shop? Do you amplify the exposure potential by going out for multiple bids? Just how many eyes see your design / models before its ultimate destination, your desk?
When considering multiple iterations of their designs, for many there is little substitute for holding their models in their hands to confirm form, fit and for use in ergonomic studies. Rapid prototyping has so many obvious benefits, the ultimate is to bring your product to market faster – surely not to let others beat you there with YOUR design!
More and more often I am asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) prior to printing benchmarks as part of the sales / proof of concept process – forcing the involvement of additional departments ultimately bogging down the delivery of even a no-charge sample.
Having a Stratasys in-house 3D printer does much more than simply protect intellectual property, it allows for fast, cost effective models throughout the design process. The implied risk (and possibly the cost) of out-sourcing may keep you from making those models early in the process forcing you to focus on a relative few iterations and only create prototypes near the end of the design. Finding mistakes and then making corrections is part of the design process, making those discoveries early saves engineering time, and most importantly your design’s time to market. Consider the 1-10-100 Rule, basically the cost goes up 10X for every step past the originator of the flaw.
Stratasys now offers both Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Objet’s Polyjet process for the best of both worlds; the strongest 3D printing materials with the highest heat deflection, and now the smoothest surface finish with the ability to print multiple materials in the same job.
The FDM’s ABSplus material offers a balance of strength and thermal resistance that is flexible enough for use with snap fit parts. The Fortus line offers materials with superior strength and the highest RP heat deflection (popular with defense / aerospace applications) such as Polycarbonate, Ultem and a blends of materials. The Fortus line is very popular for Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM). When our customers have products that do not reach a unit count that justifies the potential high cost of injection molding initial set up they simply print end use models on demand with the Fortus printer.
The Polyjet line has a wide range of photopolymer materials ranging from rigid to rubber-like, and glass-like transparency to opaque color shades. With the Connex 3d Printers you have the ability to use Digital Materials combining the 17 cartridge ready materials into 107 unique formulations.
When it comes to your designs, do not just think it through – print it throughout the process with the security knowing that your intellectual property stayed just that… Yours.