MakerBot Replicator Cuts Production Times by a Third for Supernova Design

3D models improve product design process, save time, and reduce costs

The award-winning industrial design and bike light manufacturer, Supernova Design, has installed a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer. Following installation, the Gundelfingen (Germany) based manufacturer reports dramatic improvements to its product design process, with greatly reduced costs and sample production times cut by a third.

According to Gregor Arndt, COO at Supernova Design, the Fifth Generation MakerBot Replicator is now used at every stage of its design process, from producing draft prototypes to testing the fit and form of new and edited patterns and checking the details of final designs. Installed in late 2014, the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer is now used every day, 3D printing around 30 prototypes each month.

"Thanks to the quick and direct availability of prototypes and low production costs, we are now able to perform more development cycles than ever before. Essentially, this means that we can now be more responsive to market demands, while also increasing creativity in the design process - increasing product innovation and ensuring a better consumer/industrial product," comments Arndt. "Using our new MakerBot Replicator, we've been able to reduce our average design cycle from six months to four. A huge improvement. Not only are these benefits extremely helpful to our bike light business, but they also help our industrial design clients get their products to market much faster, too."

Through its ability to increase product prototyping using its MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer, Supernova Design claims to not only have improved its design and manufacturing process, but also the overall quality of its end products.

Arndt continues, "The MakerBot Replicator enables us to find the best solution possible for each product. For instance, early on in the design cycle of a new bike light model, we are now able to 3D print the exact design fitted with all the electrical components - a proper working model. We then affix it to a bike to check not only the design aesthetics, but every other detail including, bike fit, product tilt, light characteristics etc.

"Without 3D printing, it would be cost prohibitive to do these kinds of checks at such an early stage of design. Previously, we would test two-dimensionally on a computer, but there isn't a software product out there that can predict, replicate or replace the experience of actually attaching a working model to a real bike. From a design perspective, this learning experience is irreplaceable. Our brand is all about design excellence, so the MakerBot Replicator is already an invaluable design and production tool for us."

The MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer is used within Supernova Design's industrial design department in Gundelfingen, Germany. According to Supernova Design, the company has enjoyed the intuitive nature of its MakerBot Replicator and Smart Extruder, also remarking on its eye-catching design and ability to engage clients who love to see products come to life in front of their eyes.

Arndt concludes: "We are very pleased with our MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer. The machine is not only robust and the print high quality, but the wider benefits of 3D print in a design and manufacturing environment is truly revolutionary."

The MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer offers one of the easiest and most versatile ways to print 3D files. App and cloud-enabled, the MakerBot Replicator is powered by a new user friendly platform, including an on-board camera and diagnostics system, to ensure a seamless production workflow.The MakerBot Replicator also takes advantage of the comprehensive MakerBot 3D Ecosystem. The MakerBot 3D Ecosystem includes MakerBot Desktop software for preparing prints, the MakerBot Mobile app with cloud platform to initiate and monitor prints remotely, and MakerBot Thingiverse, the world's largest 3D design community. The MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder is a groundbreaking innovation that minimizes printing downtime by enabling users to swap a worn extruder in minutes. The Smart Extruder also allows users to adapt quickly to new innovations in the evolving world of 3D printing. When MakerBot introduces new materials like MakerBot Composite PLA, customers will be able to purchase a Smart Extruder made to handle the new filament, instead of having to buy an entirely new printer.