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The DXV collection of 3D printed residential faucets – the Vibrato, Trope and Shadowbrook styles – have been named a 2016 R&D 100 Award finalist in the Process and Prototyping category. This year’s R&D 100 Award winners were announced on Nov. 3 at a black-tie awards dinner at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md.
The R&D 100 Awards – widely regarded as the “Oscars of Invention” – began in 1963 to recognize revolutionary technologies in the marketplace. Past winners reign from industry, academia and government-sponsored research, and have featured biomedical products, consumer goods, chemistry breakthroughs, innovative new materials, high-energy physics and sophisticated testing equipment.
The Vibrato, Trope and Shadowbrook models are the first-ever collection of 3D printed metal faucets created using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), a revolutionary additive manufacturing process. While this technique has been used to create plastic prototypes for years, these are the first ready-for-market residential faucets printed in metal.
“This prestigious recognition is a meaningful validation of the incredible efforts put forth by our DXV product design team. They pushed the boundaries of cutting-edge technologies to make it possible to create the delicate and dazzling forms of these 3D printed faucets,” said Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, vice president of design for faucets and fixtures — and team lead on the 3D faucet development — for LIXIL Water Technology Americas, the global business unit under which DXV operates.
The faucets are printed using a computer-guided laser beam that fuses powdered metal into the desired shape with high heat and pressure. A solid metal block gradually arises out of the powder, and is then hand-finished to smooth extraneous metal and reveal the design. In a revival of bespoke craftsmanship, the faucet is then hand-finished by an artisan who gives it a rich, fine patina and feel that mimics the texture found on antique silver pieces.
These first-of-their-kind DXV 3D printed faucets have also recognized for their styling and operational innovation by the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) as their 2016 Best of Show Gold winner in the Bath category; a Best of BDwest Product Design Award from Boutique Design; a Platinum A’ Design Award; and a Silver International Design Excellence Award (IDEA).