Founded in 1878, Safilo was propelled to success and is now the second-largest producer of eyewear in the world. The company is renowned for its stellar craftsmanship and manufactures sunglasses, sports eyewear and frames for prescription lenses for more than 90,000 stores in 130 countries. The company’s impressive portfolio boasts 25 luxury brands, such as Dior, Fendi, Jimmy Choo and Hugo Boss, as well as five of its own brands, including Carrera, Polaroid and Safilo.
Safilo’s exacting standards for style, creativity, functionality and quality demand accurate and true-to-life prototypes throughout the design process. The large number of frames produced by the company also demands efficient and timely throughput during the design process.
Previously, the company produced its concept prototypes with a CNC machine, which the team would use as a template when manually developing the actual prototypes. This resulted in lengthy lead times and, if iterations were required, would also prove costly further down the production line.
Perfect for Design and Concept Verification: 3D Printed Prototypes Enable Immediate Decision-making
To overcome the bottlenecks associated with traditional manufacturing, Safilo invested in a Stratasys J750 full color, multi-material 3D Printer, which, as well as streamlining the prototyping workflow, also brought with it the opportunity to achieve greater prototype realism than previous methods allowed. Utilizing the 3D printer’s large build tray, the company can produce multiple variations of the frames in the same print job, increasing throughput and securing reduced developmental costs. Not only can the company produce full-color prototypes with textures and intricate designs built into the plastic, but it is able to do so in a fraction of the time.
[bctt tweet=”Eyewear icon Safilo produces perfect concept prototypes for top brands better & faster with @Stratasys 3D printing” via=”no”]
“The ability to have our 3D printed concept prototypes mimic the exact same color and texture as the finished product has significantly accelerated the development of new eyeglass frames,” says Daniel Tomasin, Product Sample Coordinator at Safilo. “In fact, with the removal of painting from the process, we can quickly respond to market trends and reduce our prototyping cycle from 15 hours to just three hours. This has slashed our developmental turnaround time by 60%, excluding post-processing, allowing us to accelerate our time-to-market and maintain our competitive edge with the launch of the latest fashion eyewear.”
[bctt tweet=”We cut prototyping cycle for fashion frames from 15 hours to just 3 with @Stratasys 3D printing – Daniel Tomasin, Safilo” via=”no”]
“With 3D printing, we can play with textures and transparency, as well as blending a wide gamut of colors to achieve an incredible result, quickly and cost-effectively,” says Luca Bordin, 3D Modeling Specialist at Safilo. “This ability to iterate often without incurring expensive costs allows us to perfect our design early in the design cycle. This arms us to not only dramatically reduce our turnaround time, but helps improve communication with the designers, enabling us to achieve the best product possible.”
Greater Design Variety, Greater Creativity
The simplified, shorter, and smarter process has not only saved Safilo time, but has opened the door to more creative freedom.
“This is the start of a new age for designers. Thanks to the ability of Stratasys’ full color, multi-material J750 to combine an endless gamut of striking colors with varying levels of transparency, we can produce a number of completely different frames and secure levels of product personalization that were previously unattainable,” says David Iarossi, Safilo Creative Designer and Associate Director for Carrera, Givenchy and Havanianas. “As you can imagine, in the eyewear industry, personalization is key.
“Stratasys 3D printing is fantastic. The frames surpass those produced manually, particularly as we no longer need to worry about the paint fading since the color is integrated into the 3D printed frame. Stratasys full color, multi-material 3D printing has unleashed a fresh dimension of creativity and faster route-to-market than our previous methods allowed,” he concludes.
|Old workflow (Handmade prototype)||15h develop + 3h finishing = 18h|
|New workflow (Printed prototype)||3h print + 3h finishing = 6h|
|Savings||12 hours (66%)|