Apr 20, 2017 | By Tess
Oracle Labs, the R&D unit of computer technology corporation Oracle, has enlisted the help of 3D printing company Carbon to help it design and additively manufacture a high volume of a small and precise end-use bracket for its new research server. According to Oracle, only Carbon’s continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) technology was suited for the task.
Carbon (formerly Carbon 3D) shook the 3D printing industry in 2015 with the introduction of its breakthrough CLIP 3D printing technology, which uses photo polymerization to cure liquid resins in a fast, precise, and continuos manner. Just a year later, the company released its first commercial CLIP 3D printer, the M1, which has been adopted by many notable companies, including Alta Motors, Delphi, and Kodak, to name a few.
Now, it seems that computer tech company Oracle has also benefitted from Carbon’s 3D printing technology, as it has collaborated with Carbon and its production partner Sculpteo to create a large volume of end-use brackets, specifically designed to connect micro servers to a larger network. According to Oracle, it required thousands of the brackets and needed them to be produced quickly.
More than familiar with 3D printing technologies, Oracle saw in Carbon’s CLIP process a suitable method for turning out top quality and repeatable parts. “Our R&D team had designs we needed to produce at scale,” explained Craig Stephen, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Oracle Labs. “Working with Carbon extended our prototyping into production quantities and qualities. We received structural parts when we needed them and in volumes to get the job done.”
The board alignment bracket was first designed to be produced using a snap-in injection molding process, which proved to be an inefficient technique for the parts, because of the difficulty in producing many parts in a short time-frame and because it limited Oracle’s capacity for functional design iterations. Similarly, other 3D printing methods were not well suited because their material qualities were not high enough.
By teaming up with Carbon and Sculpteo, Oracle Labs was able to order ten thousand of the brackets it needed in the short time-frame it required. “Carbon’s technology and materials were superior to the alternatives available to Oracle. Our choice was about more than just optimizing cost and time,” commented Stephen.
The many end-use brackets were 3D printed out of Carbon’s RPU 70 material, a Rigid Polyurethane optimized for consumer electronics applications. According to Oracle, the material offered it the “solid isotropic properties” that it needed for its many board alignment brackets.
To make the printing process as efficient as possible, Sculpteo printed several brackets at once in a sort of cubic structure. This allowed the 3D printing service to speed up the production time significantly, as it was ultimately able to turn out 10,000 brackets in just days, rather than the months it would have likely taken other manufacturing processes.
“Instead of printing parts by inch, CLIP let us print parts by hour. That’s game changing,” concluded Stephen. “Oracle is thrilled to have partnered with Carbon. Not only did the part quality stand up much better than other technologies we had previously tried, the part itself was economical and saved us a lot of time in our fabrication process.”
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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