Stanley Black & Decker Partners with Structur3d
Structur3d and Stanley worked together during the development process of the Inj3ctor platform to identify the needs of large-scale manufacturers with respect to rubbers and silicones.
February 18, 2021
Structur3d, developer of advanced additive manufacturing of soft materials—has partnered with Stanley Black & Decker (Stanley) on the development of the Inj3ctor platform, a new desktop solution for injection molding rubber parts. Structur3d and Stanley worked together during the development process of the Inj3ctor platform to identify the needs of large-scale manufacturers with respect to rubbers and silicones.
Working with Stanley engineers, Structur3d was able to identify two projects to focus on: customized gaskets and product development for industrial tools. The ability to move through the product development process with materials that are used in final production allowed for increased accuracy and efficiency.
With Stanley’s input, the Inj3ctor platform was created with the purpose of replacing short run or very manual processes that currently exist in industrial manufacturing.
How it Works
The Inj3ctor solution combines the principles of injection molding with 3D printing. Using 3D printed molds, the Inj3ctor uses curated material cartridges to mix and inject 2-component (2K) flexible materials into any customizable shape, enabling turnkey, small-batch manufacturing of rubber materials.
This overcomes challenges manufacturing has faced as it seeks to embrace 3D printing. Currently, 3D printed rubbers fail to meet necessary manufacturing standards, which has held the rubbers industry back in some regard from finding a legitimate seat at the table in advanced manufacturing. The Inj3ctor platform brings desktop injection and 3D printing together to deliver a feasible solution for manufacturing functional parts. This approach, combined with the professional quality materials, means the models are viable for every step of manufacturing, from prototyping to production.
The solution works in small-batch manufacturing as it reduces the cost and procurement risks for manufacturing rubber parts. Manufacturers have either hand-casted or invested in expensive mass production tools to do this if they didn’t choose to forgo the part altogether in design. This is important as larger manufacturers begin exploring the future of manufacturing custom and on-demand products for consumers. This stands to impact many industries, including automotive, industrial products, aerospace, academia, energy, medical and various consumer products where the buyer customizes some portion of the design, such as custom design in shoes.
Why it is Important
As larger manufacturers explore the future of manufacturing custom and on-demand products for consumers, they face new challenges to create quality products. 3D-printing alone is not enough to develop factory-grade flexible parts. In response, Structur3d launched the Inj3ctor platform that injects 3D-printed molds with factory-grade liquid materials to create flexible parts.
Product developers can design a hyper-detailed mold using standard CAD software and 3D print the part with standard, durable or dissolvable plastic. Then users choose from tens of thousands of liquid rubber materials, customizing it based on desired durability, flexibility, and cure time. After programming the mixing ratio and injection volume, the Inj3ctor fills in the mold, creating a fully-customized, flexible product.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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