“We knew if we were going to use an additive manufacturing technique, we had to use it fully and we had to challenge ourselves to create something that could not be made any other way,” Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, vice president of design at DXV, the luxury brand of LIXIL Water Technology America, says of the plumbing manufacturer’s decision to pursue metal additive manufacturing for production. Rather than reproduce existing designs with AM technology, the company realized an opportunity to create innovative new ones.
DXV, which operates along with American Standard as part of the global LIXIL Water Technology Americas division, has developed a series of three Inconel faucets that are said to be the first functional residential faucets built via direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The DMLS faucets’ award-winning designs channel the natural flow of water in a brook, or give the impression that water comes from nowhere. These designs could not have been made by casting or machining, and their creation demanded new ways of thinking about design, product development and the supply chain.