Transforming industrial machinery production through reliability, consistency, cost efficiency and expedited time to market

When it comes to manufacturing industrial equipment – be it scientific instruments, factory equipment or power tools, to name just a few – a multitude of different intricate parts are needed to ensure the product functions as intended.

For industrial manufacturers of such equipment, there is a clear and common need for parts, however complex they may be, to deliver the robustness, consistency, accuracy, and repeatability to uphold the performance expectations and functionality of the product faithfully. Failure to ensure this could result in malfunction, which in turn could lead to extra costs and damage to the brand’s image.

But the challenge for industrial machinery manufacturers doesn’t end there; the need for such parts to also be produced both timely and cost-effectively will always be an equally inherent objective.

With traditional manufacturing techniques, there is an immediate and accepted recognition that long lead times and high costs will typically be part and parcel of the process. Therefore, traditional manufacturing options often hinder the industrial equipment manufacturers’ quest to streamline efficiencies across their production operations.

The Stratasys’ industrial-grade SAF technology is a new form of powder-based additive manufacturing (AM) technology and the culmination of over a decade of R&D.

Using a single pass print-and-fuse process, industrial equipment manufacturers finally can produce robust end-use parts with the level of control, accuracy and repeatability expected from injection moulding. Better still, SAF also achieves a ‘Holy Grail’ in its ability to enable the 3D printing of tens of thousands of consistent functional production parts – and with a cost-per-part that frequently renders injection moulding or CNC machining uncompetitive. When you add to the mix that those ten thousand parts can all be completely unique and customised, then for manufacturers the business case cannot be ignored.

Additionally, with SAF technology, industrial equipment manufacturers can access the inherent benefits of a technology that delivers the production resiliency and agility increasingly demanded within a sector that continues to evolve and where adaptability is key.

Stratasys has delivered its SAF technology via the H350 3D printer, engineered to deliver the accuracy, repeatability and process control demanded by industrial equipment manufacturers to meet their need for production consistency and competitive part costs.

Just like the manufacturing requirements of Stratasys’ own customers, the development and production of the H350 itself demanded consistent end-use parts with a superior level of accuracy and consistency to ensure the 3D printer was fit-for-purpose.

Since each printer must operate in a uniform manner, it was critical that all these parts function at the same high level, with a high degree of consistency. If one of these industrial components was out of tolerance, the H350’s wouldn’t perform properly. This would negatively impact the printer’s ability to achieve high production throughput and repeatability build-to­build and reproducibility printer to printer.

In addition to part quality, a short turnaround for these industrial components was a significant factor so pressing deadlines could be met.

Taking this into account, and perfectly underscoring Stratasys’ utmost belief and confidence in the attributes of SAF technology, the H350 proudly incorporates a range of different industrial machine components that are created, and 3D printed by the company using the H350.

In total, every H350 3D printer comprises of thirty production-grade PA11 parts, each of which exhibits repeatability, excellent mechanical properties, and exact consistency. Currently, these internally produced components are added to each new printer. This demonstrates the confidence in the H350’s high-yield end-use parts since they are accurate, repeatable, and durable.

Customised industrial-grade parts printed on-demand.

Printing with the H350 enabled a faster time to market and saved unnecessary production and transport fees. As compared to days or even weeks with traditional manufacturing, accurate end-use parts for the H350 were produced and ready for implementation within hours.

In addition to producing parts on-demand, it was essential that they exhibited consistency, accuracy, and repeatability. This was successfully achieved with the H350. The unwavering confidence in the strength and durability of these parts is exemplified by their implementation in every H350 3D printer.