Carbon announced additional partnerships recently, but it seems to be a part of a larger strategy for business expansion.
The news was simply this: Carbon added another eight partners to its ecosystem, the Carbon Production Network. The “CPN” provides participants with advanced training, engineering, marketing & sales assistance and more, used mostly by Carbon’s more advanced clients.
But what’s most interesting about this particular announcement is the nature of the companies involved. They include:
Diversified Plastics Inc.
Prattville Machine & Tool
These are all companies that produce plastic components using traditional approaches such as injection molding and urethane casting.
I believe the idea here is to deeply indoctrinate each of the participating companies into advanced use of Carbon’s 3D printing technology. Manufacturing companies don’t instantly know exactly how they are going to use 3D printing; they have some ideas, but almost always new approaches are discovered upon real use of the equipment.
Here’s where it gets interesting: as part of the CPN, Carbon will have a direct line to these companies where they can inject such ideas and share discoveries, speeding up the entire process of 3D print adoption.
This should combine very well with one of Carbon’s other strategies: software design. In many ways Carbon is more of a software company than a hardware company, as they’ve devised powerful software to, for example, quickly design complex sparse 3D models for industry. This is how they worked with Adidas to create the FUTURECRAFT 3D printed shoe: show the company exactly how to create a part they would never have imagined being able to produce through advanced software.
The sparse geometry 3D model used in the shoe project effectively replaced conventional foam components with a previously impossible design. But wait, how do you make foam components traditionally? That would be with urethane materials, just as Carbon lists as materials used by the new CPN participants.
Thus you can see how Carbon is positioning their CPN to be a platform for easy deployment of advanced software for 3D printed designs. It’s an environment the participants will find quite comfortable, with the manufacturer by their side to help them develop and execute new concepts. And once they’ve been shown how this is done, they will surely invent even more uses for the advanced 3D printing technology.
Carbon will surely see a great deal of business using this strategy.