Taking to the skies has been one of mankind’s ambitions ever since we first looked up and imagined ourselves in the heavens.
Achieving this goal has taken a whirlwind century, but now we have come close to mastering the skies and using them to our benefit – from traveling across the world to tracking storms, monitoring traffic, and mapping the surface of the earth.
Now, 3D printing is helping us to use flight even more to our advantage, particularly for one company that has used Stratasys 3D printers to soar – literally and figuratively.
Low-Altitude Imaging with 3D Printing
ALTA Tactical is a company that specializes in low-altitude imaging, which uses aerial vehicles to monitor what’s going on at the ground level. They help organizations and agencies monitor events, analyze and monitor traffic, oversee natural disaster response, and take advantage of aerial coverage in a wide variety of ways.
Recently, they wanted a better way to handle the production process of their products, particularly their Tactical SmartBalloons. This includes prototyping and pilot-run level production. The goal was to speed up their production process so they could make a few iterations of any given part in just a few hours, which would greatly accelerate their development.
Using Stratasys 3D Printers for Growth
ALTA Tactical turned to global leader Stratasys and Stratasys 3D printers – like the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus – to develop rapid prototyping processes. These processes greatly reduced the amount of time it took to create parts and components, cutting the process from months to days and even hours in some cases.
This is especially true for short production runs of their essential parts. When ALTA Tactical needed a part for a demo or a pilot, it was often not cost-effective to outsource the development of the part to outside contractors.
Now, they can print dozens of parts in a couple of days to meet these needs for short-term production runs, meaning they always have a part within reach – without having to pay a lot for it.
Because of the growth 3D printing has allowed for ALTA Tactical, the company can meet its customers’ needs in unprecedented ways. Organizations like environmental groups, corporations, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies have all benefited from quicker turnaround, faster prototyping and development, and a shorter time-to-market for essential products like the Tactical SmartBalloons.
As a result, society itself benefits – just one more way taking to the skies has helped advance mankind. Would this advancement be possible without 3D printing? Perhaps, but it would take longer and cost more, and at the end of the day, that could be enough to prevent it from happening at all.