AdvancedTek Part of the Week – 3/18/16
Today’s Part of the Week is a small production part from a local manufacturer in Minnesota. This customer has invested in direct access to FDM since the early 2000’s. Direct access to the FDM technology allows them to select engineering grade materials in order to support different engineering challenges that they encounter throughout the design and test stages of new product development. In this particular case the customer identified an amazing application that allowed them to eliminate the need to rework or replace an injection mold tool for one of their products that would have otherwise cost them ~$100,000.00, and more importantly, weeks or months in time delays.
In this particular case, the manufacturer had a customer that wanted a sensor added to one of their products. The product itself was very large, and integrating the sensor would have required a bracket that was not incorporated into the existing tool design. One of the engineers that had direct access to their Fortus 3D printer considered the possibility of using ultrasonic welding to attach a 3D printed bracket to the existing product rather than modifying the existing injection mold tool or creating a new injection mold tool all together. The end product was polycarbonate, so they selected our Fortus PC material and printed a single sensor bracket (shown in the photo) that was then ultrasonically welded to the existing device. They tweaked the design to include added material at the base of the bracket to allow the welding process to fuse to the part. Once a few parts were printed and evaluated (print time was approx 15 min per iteration) was proven and validated, the customer was able to produce an unattended overnight pack of 150 parts on a single build tray for assembly on the remaining parts the following day.
This was a very creative customer that was willing to investigate using 3D printed parts to solve their customer’s problems. In the end, it was the customer’s early adoption in direct access to the technology that gave them the knowledge and understanding of how they could use a 3D printer to go beyond prototyping into a hybrid production run like this one. The cost savings for this particular project likely showed a full ROI on the original purchase of their Fortus system.
Please contact AdvancedTek if you’d like additional information about the benefits of direct access to 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Please consider following AdvancedTek for future samples and customer stories.
Posted by Matt Havekost, AdvancedTek Director of Sales – Additive Manufacturing