Sculpteo Success Story: Capturax extends the capabilities of your company’s smartphones
Posted By Arthur Cassaignau on Mar 22, 2016 |
Smartphones can achieve more than what they’re used for. Based on this assumption, Capturax created a case that extends the capabilities of any smartphone or tablet to turn them into a professional device that can capture data (using Barcode & RFID technologies). Learn how they used 3D printing and its strength to turn their project into a Success Story.
Capturax is a French startup that develops and manufactures innovative solutions to transform any smartphone or tablet in a professional device that allows companies to extend the capabilities of their mobile devices. Their first product called CaptureSled® is an all-in-one compact case that integrates high-performance RFID UHF and bar code readers. The particularity of this system is that it allows companies to keep the CaptureSled® hardware solution and still be able to replace their mobile equipment when it’s time to. To achieve that Capturax had the idea to use 3D printing to offer a case that could fit any mobile device and embed a hardware solution that stays the same across all kind of devices form factor.
For now the solution offered by CaptureSled® mainly helps companies to track inventory, check shipping/reception of products, develop innovative sale supports or even integrate mobile payment.
Depending on each client, Capturax just has to develop the design that fits the devices and integrates space for their hardware solution in it. After that, they use 3D printing to manufacture the cases. The major upside of 3D printing is that instead of developing a range of tools for each smartphone and tablet models, they store the references virtually and are able to update them as soon as the new version comes out.
Also their customer can ask for specific requests in term of colors, to add texts or logos to the cases.
“Our products are distinguished by their flexibility and scalability through the use of a patented interchangeable shell (Sled), this allows us to offer our customers the best solution for their application. Such diversity and compactness could not be reached by traditional manufacturing means, so we turned to Sculpteo for the production of our products”, states Saad Skali, Co-founder of Capturax.
Compared to traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding, the company was able to save both time and money. Actually, Saad Skali confessed that his first idea was to use injection molding to manufacture the case, but after using 3D printing for the prototyping phase, the company realized that they would be able to gain flexibility and also that it would cost them less to manufacture the final product that way.
They estimated that the overall first investment for the fabrication of just one reference using injection molding would have cost roughly 15.000 euros and taken between 4 to 6 weeks in lead time. In total, even for low production volumes, the company needed four different molds to develop just one reference. In comparison, 3d printing was able to offer a lead time of a few days, no fixed references and a cost per unit far lower thanks to no initial financial commitment.
To 3D print the cases, Capturax is taking advantage of the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printing technology. This technology offers the possibility to 3D many materials with great mechanical properties. A standard material for the SLS technology is polyamide (or nylon). This process offers a quality / price ratio that is very competitive and allows great surface finishes. The fact that SLS is using powder as a raw material makes it easier to 3D print complex shapes without supports. The result is a part that has almost the same properties has injection molded polyamide and good surface finishes as the parts can be polished and dyed. Capturax was able to take full advantage to provide an innovative solution.
The main upside of their solution for professionals are:
• Flexibility and scalability: Capturax offers the user the choice of mobile device that best suits their application. When replacing the mobile device, the user retains the central module reading and exchange only the hull of CaptureSled® 3D printed.
• Protection and personalization: CaptureSled® secures the reader module and the mobile device for perfect ergonomics and protection against impact, the shell can also be customized on request with the colors and corporate logo for a better customer experience.
For Capturax, 3D printing is no longer confined only in rapid prototyping but this is a viable option economically for both limited editions and the large scale production. If you’re feeling inspired by 3D printing solutions for manufacturing, you can discover other customer success stories.