French toymaker Smoby Toys (Smoby) produces indoor and outdoor plastic toys for infants and young children using innovative designs and bright colors that have made them beloved in much of Europe. Smoby Toys is part of the Simba-Dickie Group, which produces more than 4,000 items on sale in 30 countries. In an effort to bolster that success, Jean-Marie Vallet, Research and Development Manager at Smoby, found a way to improve toy design and manufacturing processes with 3D printing.
“Traditionally, we developed toys using wood and plaster models,” Vallet said. “This was time-consuming, and often [the models] didn’t have the level of detail of the final toys. We started using 3D imaging a few years ago, and while we could see all the details and enlarge and rotate the image on-screen, there was nothing we could touch.”
An FDM prototype stands in front of the final outdoor slide.
“Thanks to 3D printing technology, we can make a prototype with more creativity. We can take more risks and be more adventurous without being fearful of getting things wrong.”
Jean-Marie Vallet, Smoby Toys