Like many industrial manufacturers, 3D printing was initially adopted as a prototyping solution to reduce development time and generate significant savings for businesses.
While often overlooked by consumers, high quality acoustic products require significant development to shape the tonality and quality of the sound. It is no surprise that in the acoustics industry additive manufacturing technologies and acoustic meta-materials have enabled new innovation to improve both the delivery and quality of sound with products ranging from acoustic panels, amplifiers and even compact Bluetooth speakers.
By focusing on 3D printing, Italian speaker manufacturer NTEK revolutionized the production process of their Omni 4″ Series. Partnering with Crea3D, NTEK engineered and developed a new dodecahedral speaker to radiate sound uniformly in all directions. The 360˚ surround sound facilitates accurate insulation measurement and reverberation time both in building and architectural acoustics.
Traditionally NTEK would manufacture their Omni 4” speakers from Finnish Birch to guarantee excellent tonal quality and sound performance. By producing these speakers with an external supplier, long delivery times made stock management difficult and significant volume was required to cover the products tooling costs. Once the tools were made NTEK any additional design changes would require a new mold and would delay production.
By additively manufacturing their new Omni 4” speakers with the Raise3D Pro2 series of 3D printers, NTEK have greatly increased the flexibility of their manufacturing process. With no tooling costs, NTEK have been able to make small changes to the products design without delaying production. Secondly this enables greater customization to their customers as printing of each housing can start within hours of completing the design.
Raise3D is among the fastest growing 3D Printing companies with offices in California, Rotterdam and Shanghai, along with a global reseller’s network. With each new product, Raise3D set out to build a 3D printer that is durable enough to withstand the rigors of industrial environments, reliable enough to run 24/7 and able to repeat the process of manufacturing finished parts with precise replication.
Thanks to Raise3D’s sophisticated slicing software Ideamaker and the use of special polymers that guarantee and improve the performance of the Omni audio output, NTEK has greatly changed the external design of its two 4″ omnidirectional speakers. Precision printing with the Raise 3D Pro’s ultra-fine, dual-extrusion heated nozzles means they could count on quality and consistency in producing high-res prints each time. The speakers are manufactured with a heat-resistant material to ensure excellent performance of the structure even after long periods of activity, without incurring deformations due to the temperatures reached during operation.
“What started out as a simple internal prototyping, in the name of new technologies, is now proving to be a major workhorse. We’re the first to adopt this new method: we feel proud to have invested and continue to invest in the field of new technologies and, where possible, make the best of them by directly modifying the production lines of NTEK” – Giancarlo Sassi, NTEK General Manager
Additive manufacturing with the Pro2 has also enabled new design innovations. The 3D printed Omni 4″ guarantees greater ergonomics with a more comfortable and firmer grip and reduced weight (7 Kg instead of 8.5 Kg) makes transport easier and more comfortable.
The new Omni 4 ” 3D printed speakers represent a real breakthrough. Production with additive technology allows greater freedom in design, guarantees sphericity and achievement of greater isotropy and omnidirectionality in the speakers.
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