If you thought traditional manufacturing was having a hard time remaining competitive in today’s economy then this blog post is for you.
In this short video case study, we meet the owners of a successful family business, Armac Martin, based in Birmingham in the UK. They’ve been making brass, steel and aluminum fixtures for years and recently acquired a Stratasys Objet24 Desktop 3D Printer.
What’s remarkable about this case study is that the team at Armac Martin are using the desktop 3D printer for both rapid prototyping and end use manufacturing purposes! Making the most of the smooth surfaces and excellent part quality of PolyJet materials, the company is able to accurately and quickly design and prototype unique draw-pulls and fixtures that help their customers make the right choice for their kitchens, bedrooms and bathroom fixtures. Those prototypes, once approved by the customer, are then sent to final manufacturing with the result that the customer is never surprised by the finished end-result.
The second use for their 3D printer is for creating sand-casted parts. First they create a ‘pattern’ using the 3D printer (this is basically a reproduction of the item they wish to manufacture in metal). From this they create mold cavities by compacting sand around the pattern. Once the cavity is ready, the molten metal is poured in, and when cool, you have a final part that assumes the same exact shape as your initial 3D printed pattern. The use of the 3D printer makes the process faster, more efficient and highly repeatable for unique parts. All in all, the desktop 3D printer is a great return on investment for this very successful niche company!