Whether you’re working in business every day or you’re more of an armchair Shark Tank aficionado, you know that the most successful companies solve an existing problem. More than ever before, technology shapes how entrepreneurs innovate, providing new tools to address longstanding problems. Young companies are particularly nimble. Cue Chattanooga-based Collider Tech, stage left. In December 2016, Collider Tech unveiled a new solution to a long-time problem.
Collider – which produces on-demand parts in traditional manufacturing materials in less time and at lower prices – unveiled its machine and proprietary technology at the Inside 3D Conference in San Diego, thus revealing its goal to revolutionize traditional tooling.
What is Collider? Founded by 3D-printing industry veteran Graham Bredemeyer and supported by a four person team operating in the Hamilton County Business Development Center’s INCubator, Collider is a rapid tooling company that makes parts in “off the shelf” materials, thanks to its proprietary process, Programmable Tooling. The Programmable Tooling process is a “hybrid manufacturing method” that produces both “end-use parts and tooling molds using traditional manufacturing thermoset plastics,” Collider owners say. In case you have no idea what that means, we’ll break it down for you.
Tooling, the process used to mass produce all plastic parts like shoe soles, prosthetic liners and car parts, requires plenty of lead time and thousands of dollars to create a mold for mass production. If you want to produce a new part, you need to invest a lot of cash up front and have some time to spare. Collider’s Programmable Tooling addresses this problem head on, using a process 100 times faster than typical 3D-printing to produce parts that are identical to those made by plastic casting or injection molding, the current manufacturing processes for plastic parts. Essentially, Collider’s machine prints a thin shell, which is then filled with resin, and eventually dissolved, leaving the desired final product.
In case you can’t tell, this is kind of a big deal. Why? Traditional manufacturing accounts for 16 percent of the global economy and the industry is worth $12.8 trillion. On top of that, less than one percent of all manufactured parts are created through 3D-printing—a market worth $5.1 billion and growing. In short, Collider stands to become a huge competitor in the 3D-printing and manufacturing markets, as well as a major player in the thermoset plastic part market. Collider has created a one-of-a-kind technology that simplifies and reduces costs in a traditionally long and very expensive process—all from its home base in Chattanooga.
Since debuting its Programming Tooling to the 3D-printing world in December, Collider has begun accepting customers and is also in the process of raising $1 million for 12 months of pilot sales and machine development. The company plans to be in full production and leasing machines by 2018, with the ultimate goal of capturing market leadership.