Alex Youden, Founder of C4DI-based 3D printing company NFire Labs, has teamed up with entrepreneur Mike White to develop and create the Smart Egg: the device that helps you to hatch eggs.
We spoke to the 3D printing wizard to find out how this emerging technology is transforming the product development and manufacturing process.
“3D printing is impacting the warehouse, production and logistics industries thanks to its ability to manufacture any part at any time quickly and efficiently,” Alex enthuses.
“In fact, within the next four years, 85% of part suppliers will have incorporated 3D printing as a means of production and supply into their business.”
Essentially, 3D printing empowers us to develop, test, create and produce items on a mass scale, more affordably and more efficiently than traditional methods.
For example, it has only taken around three months to turn Mike’s idea into a fully-fledged product - and this is including an unexpected delay due to waiting on the delivery of specialist components from America.
The niche product sits inside egg incubators and collects data to detect temperature and humidity spikes.
“Without 3D printing, we would have never have been able to build this bespoke device in such a short amount of time,” Alex continues.
“The product had to be egg-shaped in order to successfully collect data and rotate with the other eggs inside the incubator and 3D printing allowed us to easily achieve this. Meanwhile, it has also let us create several prototypes quickly and test them, without the huge cost of tooling.”
Alex points out that with 3D printing all you need to do is create a file and press print, whereas traditional manufacturing methods require a lot more time, resources and money.
Inside the Smart Egg, you will find sensors and an SD card that collect and store data during the incubation process. The device replaces the need for a classic thermometer to check temperature, which is often wrongly placed and therefore collects incorrect, useless data.
“The three most important factors to maintain when hatching is a temperature of 37.5° C, a consistent humidity and that the eggs are regularly turning. The Smart Egg gives you an insight into each of these,” Mike White, Founder of iHatch Apps and the Smart Egg, tells us.
“3D printing enabled us to tailor make this product to suit this very niche target market. It’s small enough to fit inside the incubators and behaves like a real egg, which allows it to collect important data,” Alex adds.
The Smart Egg bridges the product gap for those who hatch for a hobby. There are many products out there that cater to the agricultural sector, however, this is a cost-effective, accessible device that can be used in an at-home incubator by families and their children.
In the future, the pair hopes to further develop the product, storing more data and adding extra functionality, including integration with the iHatch Chickens application.
“The global value of 3D printing is estimated to be over $21.6 Billion by the year 2021 as more companies invest in the technology,” Alex highlights.
“In a recent poll by PwC, 74% of businesses agreed that early adopters of 3D printing will gain a significant competitive advantage and increased market share.”
It’s safe to say that with the power of 3D printing at their side, Mike and Alex will be able to make eggs-traordinary leaps in their product development journey.
If you would like to discuss 3D printing for your business or product idea, please contact Alex via the NFire Labs website.