When most of us think of Segways, we probably get a picture in our heads of security guards moving about the mall, or perhaps we recall the instance when President George W. Bush fell off of one several year ago. Either way, Segways have come a long way since their introduction back in 2001.
3DPrint.com has been informed by Segway Japan, that they have entered into a partnership with Marubeni Information Systems, an authorized distributor of Stratasys Inc. 3D printers. They plan to employ the use of 3D printers to make customized parts for their popular Segway PT self-balancing, battery-powered vehicles.
These vehicles have been being used more and more frequently in Japan as a means for patrolling shopping malls, as well as event venues. They are also permitted to be used on roads in the city of Tkukuba, Japan; a city dubbed the “Segway City”.
Marubeni Information Systems offers “on-demand production services” through their direct digital manufacturing techniques, which includes 3D printing directly from CAD files. Segway Japan will be utilizing these 3D printing methods so that they don’t need to create molds for products that they only need to make a few of.
“By increasing speed-to-market & development of customized parts for new product requests and the necessity of direct production by 3D printers, we are confident that it will lead to business expansion, mutually for both companies involved,” explained a representative from Marubeni Information Systems.
It is unknown exactly how many parts of the new Segways will be 3D printable, but it is assumed that the technology will mostly be used for the customization of parts. Parts such as smartphone and tablet holders, or additional options, which companies that purchase these vehicles request, could all be produced using 3D printing, without the need for injection molding and other lengthy and expensive manufacturing processes. Some of these options include specialized lighting on the wheels, as well as custom accessories and accessory holders.
This past week, in Tokyo Japan, Marubeni Information Systems was on hand at the Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo in Tokyo, showing off one of the latest customized Segways to vistors. The expo attracted over 80,000 attendees, all showing a heavy interest in manufacturing and 3D printing.
More and more companies around the globe are beginning to see the benefits of 3D printing. It is quickly making its way from larger corporations such as General Motors, and Airbus, to smaller companies in more specialized fields.
What do you think about Segway Japan beginning to use 3D printers in order to customize their vehicles? Discuss in the Segway Japan 3D printing forum thread on 3DPB.com