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In the early 2000s, Albéa outsourced its prototyping, commissioning suppliers who used 3D printing technologies including stereolithography and laser sintering. However, limitations meant Albéa was constrained in terms of color and material.
“When it came to meeting our criteria, we were unable to tick the boxes,” said Hugues Barthoux, test coordinator at Albéa’s Le Mans Test Facility. “We couldn’t improve our time-to-market goals using the few shades of white and grey possible, and the materials were too rigid for our needs.”
Perfecting skills with Stratasys' Tissue Matrix material.
Prototyping with 3D printed models.
True design freedom.
Expanding 3D printing applications.
Following the advances made in prototyping, Albéa extended the use of PolyJet to tooling.
We used to produce these parts in two weeks using CNC machining, but with our Connex3 it now takes us only two days,” said Crapet. With the success of PolyJet in improving production and prototype quality, Albéa is now looking to FDM to further strengthen its tooling capabilities.
“The positive impact additive manufacturing has had on our processes can’t be overstated – the numbers speak for themselves,” said Crapet. “It has become central to our prototyping activities and our production line, so naturally we want to explore how FDM can deliver similar value in other application areas.”