Catching up with carbon: Key to adoption for production is to see 3D printing in real applications

Carbon has been working to speed up the adoption of 3D printing — and not only through its high-speed 3D printing process, which emerged from stealth two years ago. CLIP technology allows for a fast, precise 3D print that is, the company is keen to note, adaptable for scale production. While the primary application for 3D printing has historically been and is likely to remain for some time in rapid prototyping, Carbon is among those ambitious young companies seeking to push beyond prototyping and into production. The biggest move so far for the smart company to put its money where its mouthpiece is comes in the way of a major partnership with shoe producer adidas, which is promising to create hundreds, then thousands, and eventually perhaps millions of pairs of commercially available shoes as 3D printing ramps up into mainstream production.

These are big claims, and it is to be expected that many take them with more than a grain of saltfollowing the crash of expectations following a significantly overhyped few years in additive manufacturing. Carbon is ready to back up its promises, though, and the team were present at the recent TCT Show in the UK — wearing their Futurecraft 4D shoes as they have at shows since the announcement — and ready to talk. During the course of the show, I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down to chat with Co-Founder and VP of Business Development Phil DeSimone and VP of Marketing Valerie Buckingham; run into Head of Production Partnerships Dana McCallum and hear her speak on a materials panel; and catch up at the booth with newer-to-the-Carbon-team industry veterans Production Development Engineers Gary Miller and Jason Lopes.

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