"Additive Manufacturing unlocks opportunities available with no other technology"

Joe Batdorf, Director for DLS Production at Carbon, leads high-volume customer success initiatives and has therefore played a key role establishing the first ever Carbon-based series production at OECHSLER in Germany and experienced the success of joint prestige projects first-hand.

Interview with Joe Batdorf, Director for DLS Production at Carbon

Carbon and OECHSLER have been strategic business partners from 2016 on, driving the industrialization and series production of additive manufacturing at scale. Joe joined Carbon in 2016 as Head of Facilities and EHS, and has held several positions since. Prior to joining the Carbon team Joe worked in government, consulting, and manufacturing, most recently leading manufacturing at a digital medical imaging firm. He is now sharing some exclusive insights on his personal view on the potential as well as challenges Additive Manufacturing is facing as well as his vision on the “factory of the future”.

Can you please tell us about your personal path to additive manufacturing - when did you first meet this technology, when and how did you recognize its potential and become enthusiastic about it?

I was introduced to additive manufacturing (AM) when Carbon reached out to me about a career opportunity in 2016. Carbon was a very young company with some amazing technological advances. During my interview with Joe DeSimone, Carbon’s co-founder and first CEO, Joe introduced me to the concept of the “factory of the future”; flexible factories that can take a product from an idea to mass production very quickly. This concept, combined with a demonstration and explanation of the technology, opened my eyes to the potential of AM as a high-volume manufacturing solution. I accepted the position with Carbon, and over the next few years I played several roles, leading up to a role helping Oechsler build and ramp the first Carbon high-volume “factory of the future” in 2018. It was exactly what Joe and I discussed during my first interviews at Carbon!

Can you please elaborate on the DLS-technology, and highlight the key advantages and what makes it so unique? What can Carbon do that others can't?

Carbon leverages our advances in hardware, software, and materials science to enable our customers to produce high quality end-use parts at speeds and price points previously not possible. Carbon’s combination of printer technology, software tools, and materials properties enables high-speed production, opening up high-volume production opportunities. Carbon has a materials portfolio that meets the needs and requirements of customers in a wide range of applications and material properties.

How would you describe the overall vision at Carbon? From your point of view, what is the potential of Additive Manufacturing as a future technology?

Our vision is to empower our customers to rapidly design, develop, and scale production of products the world needs now. There are many examples of applications in production at scale that demonstrate high volume manufacturing using DLS. OECHSLER has proven this by scaling several of Carbon’s highest-profile success stories.

The key is to capitalize on the success of these applications and spread the understanding that additive manufacturing using DLS is a proven high-volume manufacturing option that unlocks opportunities available with no other manufacturing technology.

Joe Batdorf
Director for DLS Production at Carbon

How do you plan to achieve this vision and what are currently the toughest challenges?

Our ecosystem is key to achieving Carbon’s mission to help creators make what the world needs now. We work with OEMs and customers to design and develop the next great applications, collaborate with great production partners like Oechsler, and empower our partners to make the most out of our technology. Carbon’s software team is hard at work developing tools enabling product developers to design great products that are production-ready end use parts.

One of the biggest challenges we’re addressing is the mindset that additive manufacturing can’t be a cost-effective manufacturing technology. Our platform is proving that customers can realize the benefits of 3D printing (design freedom, otherwise impossible geometries, time to market, part weight reduction, etc.) in a high volume manufacturing setting AND in a cost-effective manner.

Additive Manufacturing is often seen as a technology for rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and small series. How do you access the potential for high-volume projects with quantities well-above 100.000 or even 1.000.000 parts per year?

Carbon’s and OECHSLER's business development teams are working with OEMs every day, looking for those applications that will benefit from the power of Carbon DLS. Together we’ve printed parts at scale across many different applications, so we’ve proven it can be done. The key is to capitalize on the success of these applications and spread the understanding that additive manufacturing using DLS is a proven high-volume manufacturing option that unlocks opportunities available with no other manufacturing technology.

OECHSLER and Carbon have been partnering the Additive Manufacturing field for quite a while now. Which role plays OECHSLER from your point of view for Carbon and in the industry?

OECHSLER has a lot to offer their customers considering AM as a manufacturing solution. They have taken Carbon technology and scaled up all of the related manufacturing operations necessary to support high-volume manufacturing efficiently. OECHSLER has experience with both high- and low-volume applications, and 160 years of manufacturing experience to fall back on. They can leverage their other manufacturing technologies to meet the needs of their customers showcasing that they are much more than a Contract Manufacturer. They have product development expertise, with a huge team of experienced design and development engineers creating solutions for their customers. OECHSLER acts as a true partner with their customers.

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