Motorola turns to 3D Systems for Project Ara production platform

Motorola Ara

Motorola’s Project Ara took a further step forward this week. 3D Systems this week announced that it had signed a a multi-year development agreement with Motorola to build a “continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system” for the modular smartphone project.

The first order of business for 3D Systems is to “substantially expand its multi-material printing capabilities including conductive and functional materials.” With the combination of “additive and subtractive manufacturing methods,” 3D Systems expects to put together a high-speed production platform that will be able to manufacture 3D-printed Ara smartphone enclosures and modules. Should 3D Systems pull off this feat, it will become Motorola’s exclusive fulfillment partner for Project Ara.

As we have seen, Project Ara will allow users to buy a baseplate (called an endo by Motorola) and build themselves a custom smartphone using a variety of modules. Users will also be able to upgrade single modules at a time rather than having to replace the entire phone. For example, a user could start with a quad-core processor but later on upgrade it to an octa-core one simply by sliding out the old module and replacing it with the new one.

With an alpha release of the Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) due sometime this winter, we can expect to learn more about Project Ara in the new year. Perhaps we’ll also get a sense of when we could see the first Ara prototypes arrive.

Source : GlobeNewswire