Chicago-based advanced digital manufacturing company Fast Radius has partnered with Desktop Metal to support the launch of industrial-grade applications on the Desktop Metal Production System. As part of the partnership, Fast Radius will be one of the first companies to receive the system as it further expands its global metal additive capabilities.
Developing new applications with the Application Launch Program
One of the central pillars of the partnership is Fast Radius’s Application Launch Program (ALP), an invite-only, nine-month program which assembles product engineers, industrial designers, supply chain professionals, and operations leaders.
Over the course of the program they will identify applications for Desktop Metal’s, recently upgraded, system and provide expertise on the latest additive technologies and materials, including early access to materials and technologies not publicly available. The aim is to identify, evaluate, engineer, and ultimately launch a new industrial-grade application for Desktop Metal’s system, which the company claims to be “the fastest metal printer in the world.”
Ric Fulop, co-founder and CEO of Desktop Metal spoke warmly about the partnership, “We are excited to partner with Fast Radius as one of our early customers for the Production System and look forward to working together on the Fast Radius Application Launch Program. We are confident that this partnership will further accelerate the identification and development of pioneering applications enabled by the Production System.”
Nearly 25 companies have participated in ALP, including partnerships with Carbon, HP, Steelcase, Coapt and Husqvarna. These partnerships include part production, additive manufacturing integration, application discovery and fulfillment of industrial-grade parts. So far dozens of production-grade applications identified and applied.
In a previous interview with Lou Rassey, CEO of Fast Radius he highlighted Steelcase, a Michigan-based office furniture manufacturer, as an example of ALP in action. “We walked them through a structured process on how additive manufacturing can come into their product line. They then introduced AM into the arm cap of a chair they were launching.”
“Over an eight week period, we took 100 different concepts and filtered them down from iteration to fabrication and refinement to a finished product. Conventionally, that would have taken 18 months.”
Optimizing designs with FROS
The engine powering much of the ALP is the Fast Radius Operating System (FROS). The Cloud-based software acts as a “data lake” that learns from every part created in the Fast Radius factory to optimize the design and manufacturability of future parts.
Rassey claims that “The initiative recognizes that industry 4.0 is not just one tool, but a collection that is stitched together.”
In a separate interview Pat McCusker, COO of Fast Radius commented on the advantages of 3D printing, “It enables our engineers to work with customers to identify potential applications and makes possible the development of potentially thousands of prototypes until the right part or product is created.”
McCusker was speaking just after news broke of a $48 million funding package led by the United Parcel Service (UPS), aimed at expanding Fast Radius’s additive production capabilities, funding which will also be channelled towards further development of FROS.
Separately from its deal with Fast Radius, Desktop Metal have also finalised another strategic partnership, this time with Indo-MIM, the world’s largest metal injection molding component producer. The partnership will see Indo-MIM utilise the Desktop Metal Production System to become a full-service manufacturing partner.
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Featured image shows a metal 3D printed part at the Fast Radius factory in Chicago. Photo via Fast Radius.