The most interesting things about the J750 multimaterial and multicolor 3D printer is not the hardware, in my opinion, but instead it’s the effects it has on business processes.
Every 3D printer manufacturer today, or at least the ones likely to succeed, is generating more clients by focusing on applying their technology to different business situations. Some focus on education, some on professional designers, and many on manufacturing.
It’s a popular idea with many industrial 3D printer makers: investigate the manufacturing process and optimize it by leveraging 3D printing technology. This might involve 3D printing unusual geometries to reduce the number of parts, lower weight or other approaches.
But Stratasys’ new J750 optimizes an entirely different part of the manufacturing business: pre-manufacturing.
Here’s how it works: the J750’s color, multimaterial prints are highly realistic, not only in their colorful visual appearance, but also in their functional properties, gained from the J750’s ability to “dial in” precise flexibility and textures. I’ve held some J750 prints in my own hands and can testify that in many cases they are virtually indistinguishable from production units.
This provides an interesting advantage: manufacturers can use the J750 to produce many types of product prototypes well before manufacturing commences for review by potential buyers. In fact, far more styles, options and models could be quickly 3D printed and presented for review, enabling the manufacturer to far more quickly gain feedback about which products might be best.
Once confirmed using the prototypes, expensive, full-on manufacturing can be committed to.
While there are a couple of other 3D printer units that can produce color prototypes, none of them can produce multimaterial properties in the same prints, greatly restricting the spectrum of possible product demonstrations.
It’s pretty clear that with the J750, Stratasys has broken into a new zone of 3D printing usage, with very few, if any competitors. They should generate a great deal of sales of the J750, as this new business capability will no doubt be highly attractive to almost any producer of consumer goods.