Nipi Smart Cooler, a startup company from U.K., has created a unique cooler that is powered by solar energy, using Stratasys’ 3D printing.
Stratasys was employed by Nipi throughout the development of the product, which enabled Nipi in realizing a functional prototype 75% faster than using traditional manufacturing methods.
Nipi offers ice retention of up to six days and is packed with a host of features including a charging hub, internal and external LED lighting, cup holders and chopping board. According to Luke Guttery, Product Design Lead at Nipi Smart Cooler, 3D printing was crucial in quickly converting Nipi from a concept to a working product.
In order to realize the initial concept design to a 100% working prototype, Nipi turned to a 3D printing service provider, 3D Print Bureau. With an intention of eliminating problematic design issues, the company produced a number of fully functional parts using Stratasys’ FDM and PolyJet 3D printing system, before committing to final manufacturing.
As the product is targeted towards outdoor enthusiasts, Nipi used Stratasys’ UV- and heat-resistant ASA thermoplastic material. 3D Print Bureau was able to produce a working prototype that could support the solar panel for testing in multiple outdoor environments.
Stratasys’ multi-material 3D printing was used to produce over-molded parts, such as the handles and large tires that required accurate combinations of rigid and rubber-like materials. With the ability to 3D print these multi-material parts in a single build, as well as the capability to mix materials on the fly to create new material properties, 3D Print Bureau was able to quickly produce several variations in different levels of hardness for the Nipi team to test.
Excerpts and image courtesy of Plastic Today