Carbon has announced the launch of its L1 digital light synthesis system, although they are providing it only to some partners and on a limited basis. The company also touts it as an important addition to their platform, combining state-of-the-art hardware, software and materials.
The L1 uses Carbon’s trademark digital light synthesis technology but on a much larger scale. It’s roughly 5 times the build area of the Carbon M2 and features a host of intuitive systems. Not only is the hardware impressive, the software also has the ability to automatically assemble design files into printing projects and embed unique part identification codes for quality control. This has been particularly useful in producing helmets for sportswear, so certain companies like Adidas and Ridell are already employing the high volume production system, particularly in the production of helmets for football players.
The system not only assembles files and puts ID codes on them, it even engages in quite a bit of post-processing. Once the parts are complete, it cleans the excess resin and thermally cures them using an oven. This helps finalise their mechanical properties and parts can then go through quality assurance testing. Using the software and aided by the ID system, the printer logs the entire production history ensuring future quality. Parts that pass quality assurance testing are then given the green light for shipping.
However, Carbon has been very exclusive in sending the machine out. The current system insists that they decide which printer fits the needs of the product needs best. Thus, Carbon decides whether their clients will receive M1, M2, or L1 platforms on recommendation.
High-Volume DLS Printing
“At Carbon, we believe in using the power of technology to advance innovation,” commented Joseph DeSimone, Carbon CEO and co-founder. “Our platform enables companies like Riddell to make products that were never thought possible. With this partnership, Riddell becomes one of the largest users of 3D printers in the world. We are proud to be at the forefront of digital manufacturing of protective equipment.”
So far, the two most famous cases of company’s that managed to snag an L1 are Adidas and Riddel. Adidas put the new hardware unit to use in manufacturing 100,000 pairs of the Futurecraft 4D midsoles previously in 2018. They plan to take this to the next level by pushing Futurecraft 4D shoe production into the millions.
Similarly, Riddel has used the L1 to produce customised helmet liners for its SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet model. The helmets were in use during the 2018 NFL season, employed by a select number of players. Future helmets will be commercially available, but also limited to the ‘elite level’ starting in 2019. Every helmet is consists of over 140,000 individual struts, coalescing into patterns for attenuating impact forces while providing the perfect fit. Carbon also made use of Riddell’s database of over 5 million impact captured by a smart helmet technology that allows for custom and individualized tuning of lattice structures in the future.
Featured image and video courtesy of Riddel and Carbon.