As the world's largest furniture maker with over 300 stores in 36 countries, IKEA must be doing something right. Their secret, of course, lies in their ability to provide furniture and homeware that's beautiful, functional, high quality and yet affordable.
To achieve this the company strives to ensure efficiency at every single step of the production process, from design idea all the way to in-store sales.
Almhult in Sweden is the product development HQ of IKEA. Here the company produces the prototypes for every product that eventually reaches their shelves. This is also where they have their very own Objet 3D Printer building realistic and functional product prototypes in rapid time.
This National Geographic clip shows IKEA designers using the Objet Eden500V 3D printer to rapidly turn new cutlery designs into usable prototypes (if you're in a rush you can fast-forward to 1.00 min to see the Objet machine in action). Once printed, the company's designers can then test the size, shape and feel of the cutlery actually in their hands – an essential process when trying to make the right design decision. This is a great film and it's worth going back to part 1 to watch the entire documentary.