In order to push the boundaries of innovation for every toy that is designed, the Giochi Preziosi R&D team leverages several technologies – with Stratasys additive manufacturing at the forefront. Giochi Preziosi recently approached Stratasys’ local partner, Energy Group, to purchase a Stratasys J750 – the world’s only full color, multi-material 3D printer. With the ability to print over 500,000 color combinations, the J750 made an immediate impression on the new 3D printed Gormiti collection prototypes.
Giochi Preziosi is the first Italian toy manufacturer and the fourth branded toy company in the European covered market (EU4). As an established manufacturer of its own toy brands as well as an exclusive distributor and licenser of major international firms including Disney, the company whose headquarters are in Italy, includes a business unit in Hong Kong and a number of commercial subsidiaries across Europe: Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Greece, Turkey. The R&D team relocated back to Italy from China in early 2016, has built a strong reputation for its creative design ideas and the ability to innovate in a competitive market.
Used predominantly for advanced prototyping, the J750 helps Giochi Preziosi to trial visual and functional new toy ideas using true-to-life 3D models, as well as enable the team to create development samples for internal approval. The R&D team estimates that the internal approval time has been cut by up to 30%.
To achieve this, the team designs each part via CAD and using a rendering software, to deliver the desired aesthetic style ‘digitally’. Once the designs are validated, the final files are uploaded to GrabCAD Print enabling the team to best position each part ready for printing to ensure optimal efficiency during production.
“We increased the performance of internal design reviews, reaching a much-improved result for the Gormiti brand,” said Fabrizio Cofini, R&D Project Manager, Giochi Preziosi.. “The big advantage of the J750 here is the significantly reduced lead time in developing these prototypes compared to previous methods, but even more importantly, the quality of the product itself. The increased level of detail; the vividness of color; as well as the diverse range of materials, allow us to improve the design review, pushing all products to each stage of the approvals process at a higher level of quality”.
Using the J750, Giochi Preziosi has increased the speed of the approval process by up to 30% “At Giochi Preziosi, we are always looking at ways to innovate to ensure we meet the demands of the highly competitive toy industry,” Cofini continued. “The toy industry is constantly in flux as trends and interests change, and the particular concepts and design iterations we have to create the need to reflect this. We have been leveraging Stratasys additive manufacturing to meet these needs and accelerate our approvals process and time-to-market. With the addition of the J750 and its unique capabilities, we have been able to expand our offering even further and overhaul less reliable methods of producing toy prototypes and designs.”
One challenge the R&D team experienced when producing models prior to using the J750 was the inability to accurately repeat the level of color and detail for every individual model. This is particularly relevant when producing prototypes of action figures and dolls. Previously, the team would have to hand paint every single model with the required color scheme and detail. This was due to the fact that the previously owned 3D printers could only produce models in a grey base color and with a longer post-processing step. The entire process was both time-consuming and costly and offered no flexibility with the inevitable design iterations that would typically arise.
“We were hamstrung in that every prototype and model we produced was not only grey and therefore aesthetically unappealing, but also quite rudimentary. We had to rely on the job of our artists to provide the visual effects needed to accurately portray something closer to the final product,” Cofini continues. “With this comes the inevitability of human error and the inability to recreate detail and color, one hundred percent of the time. Using the J750, the team is able to create attention-grabbing models using vivid colors and with a previously unattainable accuracy and repeatability. The vibrant models produced using Stratasys 3D printing perfectly represent what we would like the final toys to look like,” he adds.
Giochi Preziosi is already utilizing models produced using the J750 in order to enhance its stands at major international trade shows and toy fairs. Cofini explained, “The models we create now using the J750 are so close to the final product that we can display them at trade shows as a preview of next season’s highlights. With the latest GrabCad Print software update, Pantone validation, we see big potential for entering a much easier industrial color communication process from prototype to final production.”
“For us, the J750 has opened our eyes to the possibilities of ultra-realistic prototyping and the opportunities are endless. Importantly, its capabilities grant our designers limitless freedom of imagination knowing that we now have the means to bring their ideas to life.” Cofini concluded: “Working closely together with Energy Group and Stratasys, we have been able to learn how to fully optimize the use of our 3D printers for a wide range of design applications. We’ve also been able to identify and validate new applications in which additive manufacturing can replace traditional methods. This has given us the confidence to explore new creative ideas and innovate our design process without constraint.”