Stratasys, Ltd. has shared that Whale – a leading manufacturer of water and heating systems – has created up to a phenomenal 97% reduction in lead times for the production of injection mold tools for prototype parts by introducing 3D printing into its tooling process. Jim Sargent, 3D Technical Services at Whale, revealed that the company is 3D printing injection mould tools in less than twenty-four hours using its Objet350 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer, at a fraction of the cost of producing metal tools.
Mr Sargent commented: “Traditionally, our lead times for metal tools were somewhere between four to five weeks and came with significant production costs. As a result, our R&D process was very time-consuming and fundamentally slowed down the launch of new products. With our Objet Connex 3D Printer, we are now able to design our tools during the day, 3D print them overnight and test them the next morning with a range of end-product materials. The time and cost savings associated with this new tooling method are significant.”
The injection mould tools are 3D printed using Stratasys’ Digital ABS material, which features high temperature resistance and toughness material properties ideal for low volume part production. Whale also offers its Rapid Prototyping Service to external customers, including automotive and aerospace industries, producing 3D printed multi-material parts and tools using plastics such as polypropylene and polypropylene glass-filled.
Patrick Hurst, Managing Director at Whale said: “Looking into the future, 3D printing is hugely revolutionary in terms of how we are going to operate as a business. We have already seen the technology take months off our product development process and that in turn minimises risk. In fact, I estimate that we’ve shortened our R&D process by up to 35% with Stratasys 3D printing solutions… on top of the 20% we’re already saving in terms of our design work…”
Nadav Sella, Solutions Sales Manager at Stratasys said: “We are seeing an increasing number of customers exploring the potential that 3D printed injection mold tools offer. In addition to the dramatic cost and time savings potential, our Digital ABS tools enable companies to produce parts in the real end-product material, ready to test even in the prototyping phase. Our customers can therefore make quicker test iterations and bring products to market faster.”