AdvancedTek Part of the Week – 2/23/16
Today’s part of the week is an End Use Part (EUP) for a local MN manufacturer. According to Deloitte University Press, “We define end-use products as those that are either sold to consumers or used in the creation of a higher-level assembly that is then sold to the consumer.” Industry media often writes about how 3D Printing can and should be used as a replacement to traditional technologies for highly complex parts that are produced in low volumes. When I think of an industry that is both low volume and highly complex, there is no better example than the 3D Printer manufacturers themselves. Many 3D printer manufacturers tell their customers that they can and should produce EUP’s with their devices, however very few of them actually practice what they preach. Why do you think this is the case?
We selected this Part of the Week because it is actually an End-Use Part on a Stratasys system. Stratasys’ use of their own technology in EUP production is a testament to the viability of their technology and materials. This touch screen housing was produced on a Fortus 900mc, the same system that the part will eventually be installed on. In this particular case, the volumes low (100’s, not 1000’s) and there is a material available that is suitable for the application, so it makes sense to produce the part using Additive Technology. The upfront tooling cost would have been very expensive (~$100k) and additive manufacturing offers an option without an upfront investment in tooling, even though the individual part cost is much higher than it would be if we used traditional methods.
One of the most interesting benefits that Additive Technology offers is flexibility in the design. For example, what if the screen manufacturer changes their form factor for the new model? What if a design change is required to accommodate a new feature or function that is added mid stream. Need to add more vent holes? Traditional tooling technologies would create a cost barrier to make these changes, while Additive Technology allows for the freedom to make changes without the same barriers. AdvancedTek is seeing more and more of our customers beginning to use Additive Technology to address low volume needs in manufacturing.
Posted by Matt Havekost, AdvancedTek Director of Sales – Additive Manufacturing