Dear friends in the Manufacturing Community,
When markets undergo transformation, there often comes a time when a seminal event occurs which becomes the tipping point for change. For Carbon, and for the manufacturing market we serve, I believe that moment has come. Today, Carbon is announcing a radical reduction of resin pricing made possible by the huge growth in resin demand from our customers’ high-volume production applications. This simple pricing change signifies something much bigger; it marks the beginning of the transformation of the 3D printing world from an estimated $10B marketplace to a multi-hundred-billion-dollar, digital manufacturing juggernaut!
First some context. In the world of injection molding, it’s long been understood that as volumes go up, the cost per part comes down, through the amortization of tooling costs over an increasing number of parts.
But for 3D printing this has not been the case – it’s long been assumed that the price per part is invariant with volume. The small number of 3D printed parts kept resin demand so low that 3D printing resins have been held at very high price points for decades. The high cost of traditional 3D printing has thus confined the 3D printing market to a modest $10B prototyping world.
Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) technology is now transforming the economics of 3D printing. By making 3D production affordable for high-volume manufacturing, Carbon has, for the first time ever, enabled 3D production economics to enjoy a significant cost down curve as well.
We at Carbon saw this sea change begin with our partnership with adidas, where we are making over 100,000 Futurecraft 4D midsoles this calendar year and expect those volumes to quickly grow into the millions. Beyond adidas, we see many other high-volume production applications emerging in areas such as protective gear, performance seating, medical products, fluidic devices, and automotive parts that are changing the paradigm for design. And this is just the beginning.
As demand escalates, we are building out a growing and reliable resin supply chain with some of the leading chemical companies in the world (see our accompanying Press Release “Carbon Lowers Resin Prices for Production-Scale Applications”, Nov. 12, 2018). This dynamic will enable parts made by DLS to be increasingly cost competitive with injection molding pricing, which in turn will dramatically grow the total available market (TAM), rapidly grow resin volumes, and enable yet more high-value applications in a virtuous cycle, as designers and manufacturers transition from traditional manufacturing to the digital age.
This moment is an exciting opportunity for the chemical industry as the exponentially growing pipeline of DLS production applications creates a new $300+ billion market opportunity. This will not only drive volume and revenues, but it will also create new high-value opportunities in advanced materials technology. For product companies, this represents a clarion call to fully embrace the advantages enabled by digital fabrication, including the ability to design and make better products and to reduce the time it takes to bring new products to market. Indeed, the acceleration of product introductions should grow the efficiency of the global economy. For consumers, this means that an exciting new generation of products will soon be appearing, built from entirely new types of designs, like elastomer lattices, which were previously un-makeable. And for society at large, this change will dramatically lower our consumption of energy tied up in centralized product production, inventory warehousing, and long-distance product shipments; replacing it with digital warehouses, virtual inventory, localized production, and greatly reduced shipping requirements.
I want to take this moment to thank all in our growing Carbon family: our employees who inspire me each and every day; our partners and customers who step by step are building this new category of digital manufacturing; and finally, our suppliers who are creating the backbone for one of the greatest industrial growth opportunities in history.
Thank you all!
Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD
CEO and Co-founder