The client’s challenge
- A company wants to start using additively manufactured components in a bottling plant for the first time. The focus is on components made of metal, as well as plastic for the fittings. In case of damage, and also when introducing new bottle formats, the latter is likely to suffer a shortage when quick availability is required. The goal therefore lies in reducing the costs of replacement parts as well as minimising downtime in maintenance and product launches.
- By improving machine technology and developing materials or optimising material properties, the boundary of cost-effective usage of additive manufacturing shifts from prototyping towards an industrial use in the final product, both for the small-scale production of complex functional components and for replacement parts.
- The company is therefore no longer faced with the questions of which components to manufacture additively and how to identify these. Criteria include options for integrating features and an estimate of 3D printing costs vs. current component costs along the entire value chain (development, manufacturing, and supply chain).
- To be able to efficiently identify components with the employees, the team received a day of training on the topic of additive manufacturing beforehand. Aside from learning about the basics, technologies, and special aspects of production-ready design for 3D printing, they were also shown specific examples and price indications.
- In a subsequent workshop on component identification, after preliminary sorting with the enter2net design engineer and the client’s employees, the components were analysed and evaluated in a CAD system to determine manufacturability. The controlling department was also included in this.
- Based on these analyses, the requirements in terms of material quality, component size, and volume were able to be derived and factored into a make-or-buy decision.
- Of the numerous components identified during the workshop, three were prioritised for additive manufacturing and redesigned to be production-ready. The components were improved in weight, stability, and additive feasibility by means of topology optimisation.
- On the basis of valid price calculations based on benchmarking studies, a renowned service provider created the components. Aside from improving function, a cost reduction of 8-17% was achieved along the entire value chain while simultaneously attaining faster availability (only 3-5 working days instead 2 months like before).
- In addition to the accompanying simplification in creating and adapting these components, the client obtained their own expertise in additive design and production. Afterwards, they purchased an affordable 3D printer to independently produce simple fitting parts and mounting aids.