Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. a visual technology company manufacturing cinema projectors and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, announced the launch of a new prototyping and environmental testing services - Hyphen.
Located in Kitchener, Ontario, the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, Hyphen offers access to local manufacturers, universities and design teams multiple prototyping and testing capabilities.
The equipment ranges from 3D printers that can build ultrastrong airplane parts from a nylon-type powder, and a machine that can print objects from a resin liquid, to a "PolyJet" that looks much like an office printer but can print out an object from multiple combinations of different materials. "This is the only type of machine in the world that can do that," says Jennifer Smith, vice-president of global engineering for Christie Digital.
As Communitech reported, Christie bought its first 3-D printer in 2004 to build test versions of its own components. This solved the problem of having to send designs, along with Christie staff, to American prototyping facilities for testing, which was costly and time-consuming.
Smith, along with Christie colleague Mark Barfoot, recognized the opportunity to fill a void in the rapid-prototyping market. They came up with a business plan that, once environmental testing services were added in, made Hyphen the first facility of its kind in Canada.
Also available are testing equipment (thermal, tensile and compression, sound, drop testing and electromagnetic compatibility) and one of the largest vibration tables of its kind in Canada, as well as computer numerical control (CNC) machining centers - under one roof.
"Investments in high-end capital equipment have often been out of the reach of the small-to-medium manufacturing base that characterizes this sector, but now with Hyphen they can access the best that the world has to offer, at a very competitive usage fee, to turn ideas into reality," said Smith.
Christie has long been known for its visualization technologies. It has 700 employees in Kitchener and 1,500 around the world. The Hyphen section has now 12 employees dedicating to providing services to individuals and other industries, from aerospace engineers and prosthetic-limb designers to artists who want to "print" objects they visualize.
Watch the video below showing how a blender is built using 3D printing technology.
Below are some prototypes made at Hyphen:
(Images credit: Hyphen)
The market potential is huge, Smith says.
"On the Christie side, annually, we spend about $40 million in research and development and more than half of that is in the build-it, create-it and get it through all the stages before commercial launch. So if you take those numbers and apply it across other industries you can imagine the market potential is quite large."
The facility will save companies a lot of time and money, because they won't have to send engineers and equipment all across Canada and the United States, Smith says.
Posted in 3D Printing Services
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