Freeform Injection Molding: Printed mold, filled mold, and components after demolding, according to Addifab. Image credit: Sarah Goehrke
When developing new software, there is often a sprint phase meant to enable frequent delivery of new software. But it is not often that you hear a similar phrase that describes hardware. “Sprinting is not typically associated with the word hardware,” Carsten Jarfelt, U.S. CEO for Addifab, told MD+DI. “The two words don't go together well, but we are changing that,” he continued, referring to his company’s proprietary FIM process.
“With FIM, you can take any design into a mold, print it, and then inject it with any material, get it out of the mold, and then you'll have a product,” he said. “We go from a CAD file to a product in 24 hours, in any material and any design. That's a very bold statement but it's also been tested many times now, and that's what we do.”
In his MD&M Minneapolis presentation, “Making Impossible Parts: Injection Molding and 3-D Printing Combined for Complex Shapes,” Jarfelt will discuss the key elements of FIM, such as machines, materials and consumables, and services, and how it can be used.
He said that one of the key problems in developing new products is that, until now, 3-D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) does not scale and injection molding does not prototype. “But what if additive manufacturing was used to make injection molding more agile?” he asked, noting that products made using this process are launch-grade. “We don't do prototypes, we don't call any of the stuff we do a prototype—it’s launch grade.”
Above: Carsten Jarfelt, U.S. CEO for Addifab
Not only is the product ready for market, it can also be used in the decision-making cycle of the company, Jarfelt said. “It’s not a ‘wannabe product,’ it's a real product, everything in it is the right thing,” Jarfelt said. “You can start usage testing early on, and even with regulatory stakeholders as well.”
Jarfelt said that attendees should come to his presentation not only to learn about the process but also to be part of a larger discussion. “We invite discussions everyday,” he said. “First of all, we learn a lot from them; secondly we have a lot of products out there that you wouldn't know are made by us. So we are both data-driven and empirical test driven as a benefit for a lot of actual manufacturing.” He added that there will also be opportunities for one-on-one or small group conversations about specific cases.
“We want to create a community in a platform as a way to improve feedback,” said Jarfelt.
He said he wants attendees to know that they can do things differently. “I want them to take away that here they can do acceleration and implementation of devices without sacrificing anything,” he said. “The only thing they have to sacrifice is their legacy knowledge, which is often the hardest part.”