Stratasys’ largest Italian 3D printing service bureau, Società Progettazione Ingegnerizzazione SRL (Spring SRL), purchased its second Stratasys Fortus 900mc at Euromold this year through the Italian reseller, Technimold, making this the seventh Stratasys machine the company owns. The Fortus system will further contribute to Spring SRL’s production capabilities, which consist of printing jigs, fixtures and end-use components. I know what you’re thinking, “Italian jigs? I thought that was an Irish thing.” Not those kinds of jigs, silly.
The majority of Spring SRL’s 3D printing goes towards direct manufacturing with the practice comprising 70% of the firm’s activities. The other 30% of their 3D printing activities are focused on prototyping applications. Spring SRL’s machines run 24 hours a day, mechanical workhorses manufacturing a total of 42,000 hours per year. Producing for the racing, aerospace and medical industries, the company’s CEO, Fabio Gualdo, believes that its use of 3D printing has significantly reduced lead times, saying:
As in so many industries today, deadlines are becoming shorter and shorter. 3D printing, combined with our know-how and design skills, has helped us reduce our lead time significantly as we can make several design iterations to a product quicker than we ever could with traditional manufacturing process. We have also been able to save our customers money as no tooling is required and this has strengthened our reputation as the leading Italian service bureau.
According to Stratasys, end-use production, for items such as airplane and automobile armrests, has allowed Spring SRL to cut turnaround times by 66% at half the price of subtractive manufacturing methods like CNC milling. Using Stratasys’ materials has also given the Italian firm the ability to shrink the weight of traditional armrests by 60%, which Gualdo explains, is “a crucial factor in the aerospace industry.”
The CEO describes how 3D printing has been a crucial part of the company’s strategy and why they turned to the industry leader’s Fortus machine, “FDM technology has always been a core part of our service offering to customers as it allows us to produce tough parts that can endure the stress of functional testing. We purchased the Fortus 900mc to directly manufacture parts that would be impossible to produce with traditional technology and material, such as carbon fibre. Our customers across various industries have been amazed at the quality, speed and performance of 3D printed end-use parts and this was a key part of our decision to invest further in Stratasys’ Fortus Production Systems.”
What’s interesting about this bit of news is how 3D printed items are becoming increasingly useful as end-components, with Spring SRL devoting only 30% of its capabilities to prototyping. With the company purchasing yet another machine, it must mean that business is doing pretty well and we could see even greater end use additive manufacturing with time. What’s even more fascinating is how the company managed to find the word “spring” in the name Società Progettazione Ingegnerizzazione.