Slant 3D is the latest commercial service bureau in the Western Hemisphere, meaning we operate hundreds of 3D printers, which is increasing all the time. Basically what we have are hundreds of individual cells and individual systems that all have to talk to each other, work together and produce consistent and good quality parts continuously. The question is how do we actually do that?
The main thing is that all of our machines are the same. All 3-D printers here at Slant 3D are designed and manufactured by us. This allows them to be backward compatible. We do this so we can maintain the systems, make sure that we always have spare parts, always have means of upgrading improving, or fixing any issues that may arise. This is why Slant 3D does not use third-party printers from other suppliers because we cannot control the design and the system quality as well as us using our own machines. Thus all of our machines are internally designed and maintained, which helps us to be able to do this single FDM process. This allows us to be very consistent and have everybody be trained well to work with our process.
After that, once we have all the machines on the shelves we have our own proprietary software system. Our software allows us to track what each machine is doing and how it's doing. Each machine also has a camera onboard that allows it to track itself and how it's doing. We continue to improve the smarts on those so as our factories produce millions more parts our machines will also get smarter.
Our Process and Supply Chain
All of our machines are always operating consistently, we have to maintain a very stringent supply chain and control all of the inputs to the system. This helps to prevent a garbage in the garbage out situation. We make sure that the stuff going into the machines is well controlled. We control and maintain certain recipes about how we operate the machines and how we slice and prepare certain parts. That's how we prepare the parts that are going in and the supply chain behind it.
To summarize, the solution we found here at Slant 3D to managing so many machines is custom machines that are all exactly identical, custom software that keeps track of them and having refined processes and supply chain inputs to make sure that what is going into the system is providing good quality output.
Have a great day everybody and happy printing. :)