Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Crowdsourcing and 3D Printing Partnership to Develop New Generation of Home Products

Stratysys Limited, a global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions has announced its partnership with FirstBuild, the GE open innovation micro-factory. This collaboration will utilise a combination Stratasys' patented 3D printing technology and advanced manufacturing solutions with FirstBuild's open innovation community and micro-factory in Louisville Kentucky to develop and manufacture the next evolution of GE appliances and accessories. 

Since it launched on 1st May 2014 FirstBuild, a collaborative partnership between GE, University of Louisville, and crowdsourcing platform Local Motors, has been hard at work with the launch of its first product. The Green Bean Maker Module enables any household GE appliance to be retroactively transformed into into SMART products thereby helping to create a SMART home with the appliances controlled by a smartwatch. The Green Bean Module is on sale through the FirstBuild website. GE is certainly no stranger to collaborations on innovative manufacturing process using 3D printing techniques and CAD software. Stratasys has grown into a global provider of 3D printing solutions employing its patented FDM, Polyjet, and WDM 3D printing technologies to create prototypes and produce goods from 3D CAD files. The company also specialises in the use of additive manufacturing, the process of adding layer upon layer of material from the bottom up in effect the product is grown as opposed to machined. The process makes the material stronger and more flexible allowing for more cost effective and efficient parts production directly from 3D CAD data as well as allow for greater innovation.

Stratasys will set up 3D printers at the FirstBuild micro-factory located on the University of Louisville campus in Kentucky. FirstBuild's community of students, engineers and designers will collaborate to design the next generation of appliances with continued access to GE's plethora of iterations and designs. The 3D printers will be used in conjunction with metal and woodworking manufacturing techniques to test and build products which once finished will be sold, like the Green Bean Module, through the FirstBuild website, as well as traditional retail outlets. 
We believe that the prospects of tapping into the hardware innovation scene are very promising. This is an outstanding opportunity to help revolutionise the way things are made. This is an open-innovation environment where FirstBuild users will be able to use our cutting-edge technology to accelerate product development phases and create real products. - Gilad Gans, President Stratasys North America.
From advances in ultrasound research to manufacturing GE continues its long standing foray into crowdsourcing, mainly open innovation and co-creation. Collaborative partnerships with smaller platforms including Quirky and Local Motors has allowed for access to resources and creation of opportunities for new start-ups as well as up and coming designers and engineers in innovative design and creation of the next generation of partnerships.

Image Credit; Enrique Dans

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