October 21, 2020: The COVID-19 global pandemic has triggered an urgent need for innovation on a scale exponentially larger and faster than ever before. DI Labs is a leader in the additive manufacturing industry and has experienced how instrumental additive technologies have been in solving critical problems created by the pandemic, such as supply chain breakdowns, accelerated product prototyping, and expedited production for finished products.
Recently, DI Labs took on a new international client called Kowch, a Swiss company focused on providing a beautifully-designed accessory that contributes to personal safety during the pandemic. Their product is a face shield that is lightweight, attractive and easy to wear in any setting. The company relies on additive technology as a fast, scalable manufacturing process that can efficiently meet escalating demand.
DI Labs has been involved in several innovative projects driven by the pandemic, but this one is unique. The Kowch face shield solution was inspired by recent mask mandates that revealed the importance of facial language to human interaction and connection. Erick Jakob, co-founder of Kowch explains, “No matter how great a mask looks, it still hides our mouth and muffles our voice. When the mandates hit, I quickly saw the negative impact masks were having on interpersonal relationships and became determined to find an alternative.” Once their product design was complete, Kowch leveraged additive technology to get to the market quickly.
Kowch has seen tremendous success in Europe and will be expanding into North America over the next several months. To be successful, they needed a U.S. additive manufacturing partner that could produce the Kowch on extremely fast timelines while also meeting their exceptionally high-quality standards. Their minimalist, streamlined design requires the strategic use of Multi Jet Fusion technology combined with a rarely-used, renewable bioplastic material called Nylon PA11. DI Labs is perfectly positioned to be that partner with their recently expanded additive technology lab, materials offering and post-processing expertise.
Erick adds, “We contacted DI Labs in early 2020 and they were extremely responsive, innovative and willing to make key investments to accommodate our needs. After receiving the first production batch from DI Labs, we knew we had found the right partner to successfully launch our product in the U.S. market. The quality and finish was outstanding.”
The Kowch shield has gone through several iterations and is expanding its product line to include customizable options for corporate branding and personalization, as well as the “Kowch for Kids”.
“This is a perfect example of where additive manufacturing can provide quick, high-quality solutions for urgent market needs at breakneck speeds. We are very proud to be supporting this initiative and to be serving Kowch, their mission to improve lives through this pandemic is 100% in alignment with who we are. These are the Unicorn projects where we can maximize the benefits of additive manufacturing from concept through production to accelerate innovation,” explains Carl Douglass, DI Labs President.
DI Labs is located in Minnesota and owned by brothers Carl, Brian and Sean Douglass. They have created a unique company culture founded on the motto “there’s always a solution,” which has allowed them to defy the odds and build one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Midwest.