Apple is testing the use of 3D printers to produce the steel chassis used by some of its upcoming smartwatches, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, quoting unnamed “people with knowledge of the matter.”
He says this heralding a major change to how the company manufactures products. The technique would obviate the need to cut large slabs of metal into the product’s shape. That would reduce the time it takes to build devices while also helping the environment by using less material, Gurman says.
His info backs up a report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a July 14 post published on Medium, he said Apple will release an Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the second half of the year that will be made using new 3D printing technology.
“In terms of the supply chain for 3D printers used to produce mechanical parts for the Apple Watch Ultra, IPG Photonics is the exclusive supplier of laser components, and the printer suppliers are Farsoon and BLT,” he wrote. “If shipments go well, I believe more Apple products will adopt 3D printing technology, which will help improve production cost and ESG performance in Apple’s supply chain, and the above-mentioned suppliers will also benefit from this new production trend.”