NORTHBROOK, Ill.—Impossible Objects’ Model One 3D printer won the RAPID + TCT Innovation Award for 2017, presented at the Rapid + TCT Conference in Pittsburgh in May. The Rapid + TCT Innovation Award recognizes the new product or service exhibited that is projected to have the most impact on the industry. A committee made of up members of SME, a society of manufacturing professionals, and independent industry experts served as judges and determined Impossible Objects’ technology to be the most innovative.

Exhibiting its Model One printer and the technology behind it for the first time, Impossible Objects beat out dozens of other 3D printing companies and experts who showcased their products and ideas at the Rapid + TCT Conference. The Model One printer reportedly will enable companies to create stronger parts, using a wider range of high-quality materials, faster and at scale.

“The judges awarded the 2017 RAPID Exhibitor Innovation Award to Impossible Objects CBAM technology as its novel layer-wise composites processing technology offered an innovative solution that could provide significant value to its customers and to the industry as a whole,” said Chris Williams, who served as one of the judges and is associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, in a press release. “The award was well-deserved given CBAM’s potential for high-speed production of high-strength composite parts with complex geometries.”

Impossible Objects’ composite-based additive manufacturing method (CBAM) enables companies to use a range of composite materials, including carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass together with PEEK, and other high performance polymers. This allows for “building the strongest, lightweight parts at scale,” Impossible Objects said in the release. Calling the Model One “fast by 3D printing standards,” the company said that the printer represents just the beginning of the speeds that the CBAM technology can reach. By leveraging high-speed 2D printing technologies that already exist, CBAM is said to scale to speeds that will print hundreds and then thousands of cubic inches per hour. It is reported to be the first 3D printing project that can compete with injection molding, and the same part can be used for the prototype and production.

“It’s an honor to win this award and to be judged against some of the major companies in our field,” said Bob Swartz, founder and chairman of Impossible Objects, in the release. “We’re already seeing tremendous demand from the world’s largest companies who are looking to additive manufacturing for better material properties, a wider selection of materials, and the ability to print at scale.”

Impossible Objects (www.impossible-objects.com) also rolled out its pilot program with the Model One printer to select Fortune 500 customers, including Jabil Circuits, at Rapid. Impossible Objects expects the Model One to become generally available to the public by early 2018. Interested companies that wish to be considered earlier for the pilot program should email Impossible Objects.

“It is good to see Impossible Objects commercialize its machine,” said Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, an independent consulting firm focused on additive manufacturing (AM). “The product contributes favorably to the availability of options for composite parts made by AM.”

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