New Heights with 3D Systems’ SLA 3D Printing Technology

In 2013 Apple sold more than 170 million iPads® worldwide. With a reported 500 million iPhones® in use along with millions of Samsung® Galaxy phones and a variety of other mobile devices, it goes without saying this market is hot. Likewise, the ensuing demand for peripheral devices, such as headsets, is exploding.

Fujikon, an award-winning headphone manufacturer for over 30 years, is itself on the wild ride of the headset and speaker market for mobile devices. In a market that’s getting more competitive by the day, innovation is a must. The Hong Kong-based Fujikon is no exception, as they are constantly exploring better noise-cancelling functionality, wireless connectivity and sound quality as well as innovating more attractive products and enabling faster time-to-market. In order to survive, these components are all core demands for any major market player.

In 2011 Fujikon had to take the next step forward; they realized that their 200-strong R&D team needed to adopt new practices and technologies in order to enable faster product development. 3D printing was at the top of the list. So in June of the same year, company executives asked a team to review, test and evaluate all the major 3D printing technologies.

parts-fujikon-webSLA printed parts for Fujikon on ProJet 7000Over 18 months, the team benchmarked multiple systems inside and out based on what they required: a sizeable build platform, precision, very smooth surface finish, and material properties (assuring that parts could be assembled, drilled and screwed without breaking).

Only one 3D printer matched all their specifications: the ProJet® 7000. With the help of reseller Shanghai Metang Novatech, Fujikon brought in the ProJet 7000, and as of May 2013 they had fully installed it, trained the staff and were off and running.

The ProJet 7000 is 3D Systems’ workhorse Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. It gives users the hallmark precision of SLA with a versatile build size of 380 x 380 x 250 mm. Its two laser sizes enable users to rapidly create parts while ensuring feature accuracy, smooth surface finish, and a choice of layer thickness. The material Fujikon tested, VisiJet® SL Flex, offered toughness for assembly testing, screwing and fit testing, while still having a perfect surface finish.

“As soon as we started, we could see and experience the stability of the ProJet 7000,” said Mr. Chunxiang Wu. “This was perfect die-less manufacturing: we produced accurate samples with arbitrary and complex geometry that we would not have considered before.”

The R&D teams were delighted with the fact that the ProJet 7000 was fast enough to print overnight, and it enabled them to test the product designs the next day.

“The ProJet 7000 instantly started to help our customers, our engineers,” said Mr. Wu. “We could think up a new idea, and within a day could evaluate the design, perform validation and verification of the parts and assemblies, conduct acoustic testing, review packaging design and reduce the risks associated with producing tooling for the new products. Before, the same process would have taken a longer time.”

With the ProJet 7000 entrenched as part of its everyday operation, Fujikon is seeing benefits across the board. Preliminary estimates indicate a first year savings of 5% in total production development time and at least 11% materials savings compared to the team’s old 3D printer. Most notably, 3D parts production is now an amazing 62% faster compared to Fujikon’s older methodologies.

“With the competitive market environment, and increasing manpower costs, we have to find ways to be better at what we do,” said Mr. Wu. “The ProJet 7000 is allowing us to meet demand and compete in the market. We complete product development effectively and efficiently, and we are excited to see how 3D printing from 3D Systems will improve our competitive edge as we go forward.”


3D printing enhances design and production time of tailor-made machines

Customized solutions have always been Dallan S.p.A’s hallmark. The Treviso, Italy-based company, founded in 1978, designs and produces complete production assembly systems for precision rollforming and sheet metal production that adhere to each customer’s exacting specifications.

“Our customers tell us the end product they wish to produce,” says Andrea Dallan, CEO and Sales Director at Dallan. “It could be a shutter or window blind, products for suspended ceilings, drywall manufacture and more. Then we develop the automated production systems that manufacture that product.”

In an effort to continually diversify components and improve time-to-market, the company has added new 3D printing systems to its conventional machining technologies. Installing the 3D Systems ProJet 3510, provided by reseller 3DZ, the company has upped its value proposition by using the ProJet 3510 for fast customization of client parts.

3dz_stampa3d_plastdesign_dallan_webUNIQUE SOLUTIONS

Said Dallan, “Each production machine we make is basically a very well-tested prototype, since it’s unique to each customer’s needs. Each new automated section and each new mechanism must be designed, manufactured, tested and applied to the machine, using many components that have to interact seamlessly.

“Since the parts being made by the customer—say window blinds—are often quite delicate, the machine components, especially those for picking and handling of the parts, are typically milled from solid blocks of plastic material. But this process takes time, especially when you consider that for foamed rolling shutter production we have more than 300 different models and the picking clamp must perfectly match the form of the part being made. Using traditional milling, it takes a long time to perfectly match the curvature. Using 3D printing, you have the shape already in place and you simply print it with perfect dimensional accuracy.”

TWO PATHS, ONE TURN

Dallan says that with 3D printing, the company can pursue two paths. “Either we print components in plastic materials that are assembled as final parts on the machines, or we obtain prototypes used to carry out functional, dimensional assembly tests before manufacturing the part in metal.

“In both cases, the ProJet 3510 system allows us to cut machine manufacturing time and thus reach the market faster. We are even using an acrylic resin that has sufficient mechanical features to create, for instance, support elements for sensors.”

“We have use 3D printing instead of milling, to create brackets measuring 10 x 20 mm, which include holes for the passage of optical fiber sensors. To program the machine tool with the correct inclination of the holes, internal threading and so on is long and demanding work. But with 3D printing we have designed the bracket with all details related to the holes, and in the evening we sent the file to the ProJet 3510. The next morning the components were there, ready to be assembled. We applied them and we immediately, and successfully, tested the set.”

SIDEBAR: AESTHETIC AND FUNCTIONAL

Easy to use, compact and silent, the ProJet 3510 printer by 3D Systems makes it possible to manufacture aesthetic prototypes and prototypes for dimensional assessment. Indeed, it produces parts featuring smooth surfaces and well-defined edges that are ideal to be used in functional tests, forms and coupling checking, rapid prototyping, product presentations, masters for casting, or silicon replicas.

Based on MultiJet technology, the ProJet 3510 produces objects with maximum dimensions of 298 x 185 x 203mm, with a maximum resolution of 750 x 750 x 1600 dpi and layer thickness up to 16 μm.

FROM THE IDEA TO THE PRODUCT

Simply put, Dallan is quickly discovering the potential of 3D printing—it allows them to create specific solutions that can’t be achieved with conventional machining.

“We are rapidly identifying the cases in which it is more profitable to use 3D printing and those in which it is preferable to use milling. At times, to optimize machining time, if the milling devices are busy we manufacture some pieces directly with the 3D printer.”

“Another important aspect we have verified is that, beyond productive possibilities in terms of price complexity and fastness, 3D printing can prove very useful even during the project development stage.”

Going forward, the sky is the limit with Dallan’s growing 3D printing capabilities and the new level of service it allows the company to offer. “I believe that the possibility of customizing parts and the design freedom offered by 3D printing, used in synergy with conventional machining technologies, will allow us to respond in an increasingly versatile and specialized manner to the new challenges set by out customers,” says Andrea Dallan.


3D Printing Has Gone to the Dogs – in a Very Good Way

We know that 3D printing is making an incredible difference in this world.  The video below is a touching story of how our partner MarkForged 3D printing made an incredible difference for one amazing dog.

 

According to our friends at MarkForged, “Each part in blue, on Tazo’s final 3D printed cart in the video are Markforged parts! We only needed nylon for these parts and a 15% infill was plenty strong enough for Tazo’s cart. We had to guess about the strength needed for the legs on the cart, since we didn’t know his weight, but we knew that the only printer we could trust was the MarkOne. We knew we needed a strong part that we wouldn’t have to worry about breaking and your printer was the only answer. “