IKEA Launches New 3D-Printed Consumer Line in Germany

IKEA has introduced a new line of 3D-printed products, using technology that can also make IKEA’s items more accessible to people with disabilities.

IKEA’s new line of 3D-printed home decor has hit the racks in Germany. Under the name FLAMTRÄD, the new product line includes decorative items with a lattice design, like a human face or hands in different positions, such as thumbs up or making a heart. 

This new industrial 3D printing process is called selective laser sintering (SLS). 

InHabitat reports that the FLAMTRÄD products cost a bit high for IKEA — between €29.99 and €49.99 ($34.25 and $57.10), but still lower than what similar 3D printed items cost a few years ago. 

The project leader Olaf Szukałowicz said that the FLAMTRÄD line may soon be available on other European markets as well. 

“If those test markets are successful, we don’t want to stop there,” Szukałowicz told 3DPrint.com. “There are few AM initiatives taking part in different IKEA organizations. Some are aiming to improve internal operations and some are more customer-facing. They are all at the early stage, so [there is] nothing more to say.” Additive manufacturing is a type of 3D printing that builds products in layers of powder rather than starting from a solid block.

IKEA has also put its 3D printing technology to good use, partnering with nonprofits Acess Israel and Milbat in a project called ThisAbles. 

The partners have prepared models for 3D-printable items that can make IKEA products more accessible. Examples include easy-to-use drawer handles, a mechanism for stabilizing drinking straws, or mouth-held computing devices. 

ThisAbles is probably the largest corporate initiative that uses 3D printing to help people with disabilities.  

Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen's readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.

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