Is your business affected by supply chain delays? Due to extended traditional manufacturing timelines, you’ve most likely experienced longer lead times for specific support machine components like cable grommets, cable clips or ducts.
And whether you manufacture refrigerators, air conditioners, turbomachinery, construction machinery or even 3D printers, the lack of necessary parts and flexibility can hinder production — costing your company time and money as well as impacting your output and reputation.
However, producing necessary industrial equipment parts that meet performance requirements — on demand and at the desired volume — is achievable. In this article you will learn how using Origin P3 3D Printing Services from TriMech is a solid solution for overcoming supply chain challenges.
Shorten part production lead times
Traditional manufacturing for industrial machine components — such as CNC milling, injection molding and sheet metal forming — can result in delayed part delivery. For instance, it may take polymer milling subcontractors anywhere between five days to five weeks to fill requests depending on current workloads. While companies wait to receive these crucial replacements from the subcontractor, the industrial machine cannot be completed.
With additive manufacturing, industrial machine components can be printed immediately at low and high volumes — enabling a seamless transition from product development to production. In as little as a few hours, these critical parts can be designed, printed and ready for implementation.
Time to part is a challenge that the Origin One 3D printer and services from TriMech are designed to successfully overcome. Lead times for polymer molding can take weeks or months. But by using leading-edge P3 technology, you can obtain a mold-like surface finish in a fraction of the time. This means businesses looking to launch production as quickly as possible can rely on the Origin One 3D printing services for short runs for testing as well as product launches.
Additionally, when a part shortage hits or lead times increase, flexible production with Origin One 3D printing services can provide short term fixes or long-term solutions for manufacturing businesses.
Lower inventory and production costs
Storing large amounts of surplus inventory, such as spare parts, can be extremely costly and financially negligent if cashflow declines. With additive manufacturing, companies can print the exact number of parts needed on demand. This capability helps eliminate tooling costs associated with other manufacturing methods and labor-intensive manual fabrication (welding). Cost per part is also minimized and can lead to greater efficiency. This is especially important when it comes to small orders from suppliers.
Between labor and shipping, outsourced parts become increasingly more expensive compared to in-house 3D printed parts. Additive manufacturing also reduces warehousing costs and working capital while enabling consistent part supply over long life cycles.
Achieve design freedom
Once the part is sent to be produced by traditional manufacturing, it is time consuming and costly to change the design or iterate its function. As a result, the manufacturer must wait to receive the parts before implementing updates — leading to longer turnaround times. With additive manufacturing, the full production process is unlocked.
Design freedom is enabled to create complex parts that fit exact specifications within the machine. Additionally, the ability to print on demand allows potential designs to be iterated and tested quickly. Industrial machine components created with additive manufacturing can also be stylized based on the designer’s preference. This results in customer-facing parts that are created according to the desired aesthetic.
Another common challenge for traditional manufacturing is assemblies. Additive manufacturing allows these parts to be built as a single piece. This reduces the BOM (bill of materials) and leads to less assembly and inventory typically required for multiple parts.
Replace heavy metal with lighter materials
CNC milled support machine components are typically composed from material blocks or formed in sheet metal. Materials can include steel or aluminum polymers — including composites — if a more lightweight option is required. In either case, the metal materials create heavy parts.
Featuring a broad material catalog, the Origin One machine has the capability to produce many parts with varying requirements — from flexible parts with high rebound to lightweight, high-strength parts — that can replace traditionally metal-made parts. Components produced on the Origin One provide manufacturers with the flexibility to produce parts for both test fit and final function.
Flexible, accurate and repeatable production
Accuracy and repeatability are essential for manufacturers, allowing them to save both time and money during the production process. These elements are key features of the Origin One 3D printer. P3 technology precisely controls print forces and provides optimized control of light and temperature during prints. This results in highly accurate parts that meet both tolerance standards and surface finish requirements.
The Origin One 3D printer provides manufacturers with a tool that can create robust parts for many purposes. The P3 process produces high polymerization conversion, which results in tough parts that can face the most challenging of environments or use cases.
Featuring a wide variety of materials, the Origin One printer has the flexibility to produce accurate parts with varying performance properties for a diverse range of applications. Flexible, elastomeric materials can be used to create support machine components like gaskets or seals while more general-purpose materials can be used to produce enclosures, clips or gears. The Origin One can also produce parts suitable for applications that require using materials that can pass FST and outgassing standards.
Grommets and cable-mounting devices may look simple, but their job is critically important for machine functionality. If a cord or cable moves or becomes disconnected, machine failure is a probability. Securely holding cables in place with durable materials that can absorb shock provide factories with more machine uptime across the board.
This cable grommet produced with Origin One and Henkel’s IND 402 rubber-like material enabled a team of final assembly engineers to replace a faulty injection molded part with a durable elastomer material. This provided a better final fit than the molded grommet, which was inaccurately produced. In just two hours, 60 grommets can be produced — helping keep production timelines on track and moving forward.
Product development is rarely a straightforward process. There can be shortages of parts or last-minute changes to designs. Many times, an investment has been made in cut or molded parts and changes are needed — requiring substantial redesign, or worse, more money spent securing new parts.
The Origin One engineering team recently experienced this situation firsthand when a late design change left literal “holes” in the process. Some quick thinking led the engineers to design and print grommets that seamlessly covered the holes in the costly, pre-fabricated machine parts — giving the printer a refined look and feel for customers. The engineering team used IND 403 from Henkel because it has great durability and a fantastic surface finish for end-use parts.
Hours were all that was needed to help the engineers avoid costly design changes and product delays. This is what flexible production with Origin One can bring to the shop floor.
Key components — such as covers, sheaths and deflectors — are susceptible to challenging environments within a factory. An elastomeric material such as Henkel’s IND 402 material, can dampen vibration and allows for precise functionality of industrial machine components. Plus, a nozzle sheath printed on the Origin One can be a quick fix for the shop floor, or a permanent solution to protect valuable machinery components. In under eight hours, users can produce up to 15 nozzles ready for immediate installation on the shop floor. This ability to print and quickly protect sensitive equipment empowers manufacturers to solve multiple problems with one tooling machine.
Parts such as machine handles and flywheels are constantly touched and utilized. Many of these parts have only been manufactured a certain way because there was no reason to change the process or break the mold. The Origin One enables a change in thinking for handle components or similar high-use parts. A focus can be made on tool fit or optimized function.
Changes can be made regarding colors, textures and as-printed labeling or part instructions. These capabilities can even improve human factors, ergonomics and performance. Origin One increases the options and elements to improve feel and function for operators on the shop floor. Using Dura 56 material, in just two hours, two custom, lighter weight and more ergonomic handles can be made.
Lenses and gauge covers
Gauges and sensors are vital for the safety and functionality of industrial manufacturing equipment. Gauges measure pressure inside enclosures and monitor the safe operation of high-risk equipment. Sensors give operators advance notice of issues with temperature or unsafe conditions. These parts are critical for the safe operation of valuable tools all across the standard factory floor.
When a sensor window cracks or a gauge lens is broken, operators are left with few options other than the dreaded “order and wait” scenario. Part replacements can take weeks or even longer in many cases. With Origin One, engineers can easily create functional, tough, and most notably, clear replacement parts for these applications.
Using Henkel’s 3843 material, engineers can print six lenses in just 30 minutes. With a multi-step sanding and polish process, lenses and covers can be processed to a final clarity in just hours. Using the speed of Origin One, a factory floor now has a quick fix for critical safety equipment to keep machines working around the clock.
Advance your support machine component production to the next level
With the Origin One 3D printing service, supply chain setbacks and decreased inventory will no longer impact manufacturers, industrial equipment suppliers or service bureaus. And if a machine urgently requires a replacement or redesigned impeller, handle or gear, the part can be ready for implementation within hours.
This will limit the reliance on external shipments that may take weeks to arrive, keeping production on track. These solutions enable manufacturers to take control over their production process by printing the necessary end-use parts, exactly when needed — saving your business time, money and peace of mind.