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Taking a deep insight into our company performance in the beginning we can assume that, as most of the young entrepreneurs, we were facing different obstacles at various stages of our work. Obviously we were trying to develop and show the finished product to the world as fast as possible, as it is among wishes of every startup, and constantly put all our effort into product evaluation that brought highly satisfactory results. Fortunately we’ve reached such point where we could pride ourselves in having the product that can help other businesses develop by offering fast, high quality and affordable prototyping – an instant solution to the production process impendiments. Having such opportunity, we had no hesitation when a group of creative fellows from Emerald asked if we want to take part in their success.

Device You Want to Put Your Hands on

Indeed, the main purpose of Emerald device is to protect you and your family from the filthy air inside your house, which is in fact a place where lots of dust, bacteria, allergens and other pollution is cumulated. The quality of the indoor air gets really important, especially during the winter and fall as people tend to spent more time at their homes. This small gadget works after attaching it in your room wall. First, the device needs to be touched for a few seconds, so it starts to emit light and sends information to the smartphone. Having all the data concerning the air quality on your phones allows you to make necessary activities to eliminate the hazardous substances from the surrounding.

Prototyping Makes Perfect

It definitely does, as only thanks to creating a sample model of our product we can thoroughly analyze its strong and weak points and then obviously do something about them. It is an essential part of the evaluation that should be performed each time a new, remastered prototype is made. In case of Emerald, the whole team was really engaged in producing the best possible results as they are planning to start with a their campaign on Indiegogo. They’ve made a digital project of the model and send it to us, so we could prepare the cases for the purpose of testing its look, ergonomics and of course check if it fits the electronics that were to be put inside. Having the model right in your hands makes the whole testing much easier.

Green Light for Low-Cost Production

Creating the casing that will handle all the electronics, was both quick and cheap as we used our Zortrax M200 3D printer which is a precise and reliable device. The box that is presented in the picture was 3D printed from Z-ULTRAT as this particular material ensures the highest level of resistance and durability, at the same time giving ultra shiny surface. The approximate amount of the material used for one item was 40 g, so the total cost of one box, depending on the type of material, was 1,66 USD. Printing time of this particular box was 2 to 2,5 hours. Bearing in mind these numbers, we can make a comparison with the traditional process of creating a similar model using the injection molding technology. The difference is in fact really striking, as the cost of preparing the identical prototype that is suitable for mass production would involve around 3 to 5 weeks and cost 10-14 k which is obviously a huge sum, especially for all who want to start their company.

Device that Shines

The printing quality of the box was really good, however there were a few activities performed to obtain the picture perfect look of the product that was to be presented to the wider audience. The first and very basic step was to make the surface extra smooth, so it is well prepared for the further post-processing, which involves activities like painting, varnishing and priming. The method chosen by Emerald enabled to achieve such great results due to the fact that Z-ULTRAT is one of the most suitable materials that undergo various post-processing techniques like sanding, sandblasting and other, but also thanks to the fact that the airbrush method was used. This particular tool allowed to cover the model with ultra thin layers of paint without visible smudges. This technique is common in various industries, especially automotive branch makes use of it, although it sometimes requires to hire a professional artist to perform the painting. The finished object was a white, shiny box with Emerald logo on it. However, the most vital thing here was the fact that, the model produced in the additive manufacturing technology could be successfully used as end-use product because of its high quality and dimensional precision.

Lowering the Risk

The successful cooperation with Emerald in fact showed how the additive manufacturing technology can help with speeding up the production process within the company. Tools like Zortrax 3D printers, that allow significantly faster product launch should be considered by entrepreneurs concerned on time-efficiency, staying within budget and having the close control over the product lifecycle. It is a great thing to know, that the latest technologies give us the possibility to materialize innovative projects like Emerald and work on them within the necessity to involve our time and money in traditional methods of prototyping.

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