Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is an established American producer of premium guitars, amplifiers, sound equipment, and foot pedals that are used by leading performers and music enthusiasts.
With the growing demand for faster innovation, improving supply chain efficiencies, and getting their products out faster to the market, Fender was thus looking for a complete solution to save on tooling costs while reducing product development risks in a cost-effective manner.
Traditional prototyping usually takes 6 – 12 months, which involved various design iterations, market research studies before retailing. But with 3D printing, the time to market could be dramatically reduced with the iterative design process.
One example would be the Fender Passport sound equipment, a re-released, all-in-one portable PA system. By adopting Stratasys Objet Eden 350V PolyJet 3D Printer, Fender was able to print different housing pieces, glue them together, and paint them with metallic colors during post-processing to come out with an accurate concept designed prototype in just a few hours. Testing of all kinds can be done subsequently, and this helped Fender save on costly tooling processes while slashing the time to market by 30 – 40%.
In addition to shorter production cycles and lower costs, 3D printing has also become an inseparable part of Fender’s everyday operations. The collaboration between the R&D and marketing department has been remarkedly improved, as designers can now show their actual designs and get their ideas out much more quickly than previously possible.