Dec 15, 2015 | By Kira

A brand new, solar-powered, electric scooter has just 'floated' onto the smart commuter scene, and the company behind it is praising Stratasys FDM and PolyJet 3D printing technology, which it says was absolutely integral in creating the functional prototypes they needed to bring their product from development to launch quickly and cost-effectively.

Floatility GmbH, a German start-up based out of Hamburg, has designed a first-of-its-kind smart electric scooter that they believe will disrupt short distance mobility and redefine how modern city dwellers get from point A to point B. The e-floater houses an electric motor and drives on three wheels, meaning riders can stand upright and move around freely without any of that pesky physical exertion. It’s also Internet of Things-enabled, ‘intelligently’ communicating to its owner in real-time where it is located and the condition it is in. Finally, as a solar-powered, electric vehicle, it is a much-needed, greener approach to urban mobility that is sure to appeal to anyone who’s been caught in a nasty cloud of city-bus exhaust or a smelly sewer haze in the past.

Well-designed, intelligent, useful, and green? These are the kinds of products we like to hear about, and it only makes us happier to know that not only was 3D printing technology an asset—it played an essential role in its development. “We would not have been able to take this product from development to launch without using Stratasys 3D printing to develop a working prototype—It’s as simple as that,” said Oliver Risse, Floatility Founder.

In order to meet an early launch date, Floatility turned to Stratasys EMEA, a subsidiary of Stratasys, and its core FDM and PolyJet 3D printing solutions—each of which provided marked, functional benefits for particular aspects of the prototype. Fundamentally, the combined 3D printing technologies ensured that the final, functional prototype could be achieved more significantly and more cost-effectively than using traditional methods such as silicon molding. In fact, Floatility has said that the 3D printed prototypes were produced 50% faster through 3D printing in comparison to silicon molding, and that the latter would have required the assembly of up to 20 individual parts.

"The need to build prototypes that exactly resembled the final product and that would enable us to test everything thoroughly was vital to the successful launch of this product," said Risse. "3D printing was essential in this regard as it allowed the team to physically test the design and concept of e-floater as if it were the final product. This not only sped up the product development cycle, but dramatically reduced our product development costs.”

Not only were they able to reduce time and cost through 3D printing, but the individual 3D printing technologies gave them unique capabilities, such as combining different materials into a single print. Soft components, such as the tail and front lights, wheels, and grips, were manufactured on the PolyJet-based Objet500 Connex3 Multi-material 3D printer, whereas pieces that needed to be more durable were 3D printed on the mechanically-strong and UV stable, FDM-based ASA material, using Stratasys’ Fortus 450 3D Production System.

“The e-floater is a perfect example of how 3D printing enables designers and inventors to turn their concepts into fully-operational products quickly and cost-effectively," said Andy Middleton, President, Stratasys, EMEA. "In this case, the blend of both our core 3D printing technologies proved instrumental in bringing another exciting and innovative product to market and, as a company, we're delighted to play a part in helping Floatility - and other start-up businesses like them - bring their ideas to products."

Though there is no word yet on when the e-floater will be available on the market, the product itself is very promising, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on when this disruptive commuter device will finally scoot its way onto our streets and into our lives.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like: wrote at 6/5/2016 5:44:26 PM:

you said mid 2016. Today is 2016 june 5th. So what ? Any news ? I'm really interested. thanks a lot...

Wil bryans wrote at 2/28/2016 10:36:28 PM:

Looks interesting would like to follow on how it progresses wrote at 12/21/2015 8:10:16 AM:

Thank you for the nice write up. We have built 20 prototypes which are being tested in 4 global locations with variating environmental and terrain condition's. Demonstration test beds/pilots are underway, so u can expect to see and trial them in real life by mid 2016 :)

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