Tempe-based Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies (PADT) is opening the Southwest’s “first true 3-D printing factory,” according to an announcement released Thursday.  

PADT became a certified production partner with Silicon Valley-based Carbon, a 3-D printing machine manufacturer, which will enable PADT to make production plastic parts on-demand with Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology and Carbon’s production system.  

“Since we started in 3-D Printing almost 25 years ago, we have dreamed of the day that we could use additive manufacturing to move beyond prototyping and deliver production parts to our customers when they need them, the way they need them,” said Rey Chu, co-founder and principal, PADT. “Carbon’s (Digital Light Synthesis) technology has made this possible by giving us a faster process that creates parts with the same properties as injection molding.” 

With the use of Carbon’s systems, PADT can create 2,000 to 5,000 “cost-effective, quality” parts in a week’s time. During PADT’s test period, the company produced about 20 parts every three hours, said Eric Miller, principal and co-owner of PADT.

The company has three of Carbon’s 3-D printers on site. Miller said that PADT can make parts for the medical and automotive industry, adding that the medical industry is especially excited about this kind of device manufacturing due to the need for specialized, low volume parts.

This on-demand manufacturing can allow companies to design and receive parts that require no tooling. The need to create molds is also eliminated and parts can be created in shapes that other methods could not replicate.  

Miller emphasized the on-demand labeling of this 3-D manufacturing, because instead of making all of the parts in a single run, PADT can deliver as many parts as the company needs. For example, a client could need 1,000 parts a month, or just need a set amount at one time and then can order more as they need the parts, Miller explained.

PADT can also deliver 3-D printed parts within a week, instead of the three week to three month timeline injection molding may take, Miller said. Also, parts wouldn’t need to be assembled, as the 3-D printer could print the part in one go, he added.

This technology PADT is using is part of a new generation of 30D printers, Miller said. PADT’s partner, Carbon, has about ten other certified production partners like PADT.

“Our goal is to deliver true, scalable digital fabrication across the globe, enabling creators to design and produce previously unmakeable products, both economically and at scale,” said Dana McCallum, head of Production Partnerships at Carbon. “PADT has a long history in the industry and a strong reputation for engineering excellence. We’re thrilled to have them as a certified Carbon production partner.” 

PADT’s team will assist with in-house development, inspection, simulation and add molding experience.