Replacement Arcade machine part
A common use for 3D printing is reverse engineering of obsolete parts, as it allows quick and cheap production of parts no longer commonly available. This was the case for a recent client of AM3D who was no longer able to source a necessary part for their arcade machines. The part was a small plastic key that fitted into a mechanical part of the machine.
The part was a perfect size for 3D printing, but the first issue was deciding if it would be better to 3D scan the item or design the part on CAD to be optimised for 3D printing. AM3D decided to redraw the item on CAD as it allowed the item to be optimised to use less material in certain areas leading to lower costs.
The next area AM3D looked at was what material would be best to use. There were some test parts made in nylon but although this made the part very difficult for the part to break it also made the part very flexible which lead to the part not functioning as well. When printed in ABS the part had very similar properties to the original injection moulded part.
Thanks to 3D printing and designing for 3D printing AM3D were able to create a part for their client that was no longer available on the market and prevented them having to invest large amounts on new machines. They also now have a part which can easily be printed again whenever another one is needed.
Making Replacement Gears
3D printing is an ideal manufacturing method for making one off replacements, which was shown in a recent project where AM3D were able to redesign and 3D print a set of replacement gears for a vintage vending machine.
AM3D were working with a client who was having issues with the Bevelled gears on his vending machine, which was due to the ratio being slightly incorrect causing the gears to grind down. Due to the age of the machine it was difficult to source replacement gears and the problem would probably occur again due to the incorrect ratio.
With the capabilities of 3D printing AM3D were able to redesign the gears to be customised to the vending machine allowing the parts to be optimised for the vending machine rather than be a standard size gear that didn’t fit. Once the gears were designed using CAD software it was very easy to be able to 3D print the gears in a variety of materials to test which would be the best solution. In the end the material that was chosen was PLA as it was strong enough and had the properties to allow the gears to move and function in the vending machine, without the teeth of the gears crashing into each other.
Through the advancements in technology AM3D were able to reverse engineer this part using CAD software and then optimise the gears to be used as a working part. The item was also optimised for 3D printing allowing a lighter more efficient part to be created.
BORG Automotive Case Study
Until recently, 3D printing technology has been perceived as nothing more than a technological novelty. Nowadays, not only is it receiving exposure at some of the largest trade fairs in the world, but it has since become an integral part of the manufacturing process across countless industries. BORG Automotive has recently become one of the leading companies to implement additive manufacturing as a key component of the production process.
Based in Europe, BORG Automotive is a thriving enterprise in the automotive industry. With headquarters based in Silkeborg, Denmark, and a distribution centre in Zduńska Wola, Poland, BORG Automotive have established themselves as specialists in sales, production, and distribution in the auto aftermarket. Although the company’s domain lies primarily in the remanufacturing of alternators, starters, A/C compressors, and brake calipers to some of the world’s leading car manufacturers, the company also pays attention to agricultural and construction machinery.
An unwavering commitment to the quality of work they produce has made BORG one of Europe’s largest independent remanufacturing companies. As a result of their unwavering commitment, BORG have achieved things such as the regeneration of alternators with the starter function that is used in start/stop signs.
Quality and Innovation
Production in BORG Automotive is based on the principles of lean manufacturing, whereby all processes are optimized to ensure that production will be of the highest quality, whilst also being achieved quick and efficiently. Every stage of the technological process is strictly monitored to ensure that the consumers will be able to appreciate a product of superior quality.
“It is a natural part of our work to test manufactured products. We also put a lot of focus into the issue of R&D. In our research lab we are capable of testing our products under heavy loads in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. We are able to create new products as well as enhance the ones that are already on the market. The use of 3D Printers has definitely made the work more efficient.” – Grzegorz Stepien, R&D Technologist in BORG Automotive.
Flexibility and Cost Reduction
BORG Automotive uses 3D printers to produce components which are made of synthetic materials no longer available to purchase.The main feature of elements that are created in high temperature print technology is an elevated thermal and mechanical endurance.Contracting out the production of such components requires complex logistic procedures and can prove to be too costly and time-consuming.
“VSHAPER printers enable us to retain flexibility and independence. We can reduce the cost of production, which gives us an advantage over competition.” – Grzegorz Stepien, R&D Technologist in BORG Automotive.
The users of the printers at BORG Automotive make a strong point that the quality and precision of the product, as well as the close proximity of the service station, were decisive factors in choosing the printer. The ability to work continuously was also taken into consideration when deciding to purchase the device. This is especially important when the printer is being used for an industrial purpose.
Automotive and 3D Printing Technology Development
“More and more companies in the automotive industry are interested in printing construction elements that have virtues similar to that of metal. Observing the development of 3D Printing in recent years, it becomes apparent that automotive is its biggest recipient.” – Tomasz Szymanski, Founder and CEO of Verashape.
3D printing technology, until recently, has been used mainly in the process of rapid prototyping of models that serve as a base for testing parts. Implementing additive manufacturing in a small-lot production in BORG Automotive serves as a perfect example of how its use can be changed during the production processes. The phenomenon of using 3D printing to produce fully functional parts in the automotive industry has finally become a reality.
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