In November 2016 we had our first 3D printer installed. Since then, we have put it to the test and found that 3D printing can offer quite a few advantages.
At the moment we are not using our 3D printer as a way of manufacturing entire batches of our products. The main reason for acquiring one was to be able to produce prototypes of our new product developments, tooling and supporting test equipment. Using a 3D printer for this process has been the innovative approach to product development. This was clearly demonstrated recently on two projects that have recently won the Suffolk Innovation business awards 2017; our Low Cost Heavy Duty Footswitch and Our Multi Pedal Footswitch.
The advantages of 3D printing
Time – many of the Herga products use the process of injection moulding. This process takes time to set a machine up and the need for injection mould tooling must be created. This can be a very time consuming and costly approach to concept approval. Using a 3D printer allows Herga to provide solutions quickly and does not require any tooling so it is perfect for producing just one piece or even small batch runs.
Money – when creating just one piece, it can be expensive to go down the injection moulding route. Mould tooling means a larger investment for prototyping early on in a project without any confidence the design will fulfil the requirements of the customer. Within the process of moulding, the preparation and cleaning of the injection mould machines can also be costly and can affect other production volume manufacturing orders. Using a 3D printer allows us to produce a part for conceptual approval from customers or internally without first creating expensive mould tooling which may not be later required. It also allows Herga to prepare assembly fixtures and test equipment to evaluate the manufacturability processing of the concept design.
Mitigate risk – using a 3D printer allows us to verify our concept designs and support the mitigation design risk before there is an investment in hard tooling and any other overhead costs. We will have a really good idea whether a product is functionally possible before we move onto the next phase of the development process.
Expands creativity – having the ability to produce prototypes quickly and considering the saving in design time has allowed us to focus on our innovative ideation process. We can use this creative resource to be more imaginative with our designs and concepts. We can produce a range of possible options to be used with our staff on site, improving communication and enhancing the creative approach taken on all Herga product developments.
Personalised prototypes – in the past, the process of product approval was a long and expensive undertaking for any business and or customer. It has saved many hours of resource and has delivered concept products to customers, shows, seminars and meetings. The use of 3D printing and the samples provided are a direct route to decision making process with our customers and has provided an all-round benefit to the business.
Overall we have found that using the 3D printer has been very beneficial to our business. Are you using a 3D printer? What benefits have you found?
For more information please contact: Herga Technology Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1284 701422
Article date: Thu, 12 Apr 2018 15:27:11 +0100 GMT