In recent years, 3D printers are utilised as viable solutions for designers and engineers. Now used for product and part development, especially in aluminium product applications, 3D printers are proving to be critical in manufacturing environments.
We are noticing, Australian manufacturers are now printing functional prototypes, tooling and fixtures, and end use parts – especially in aluminium market segments. In many cases, this has enabled them to replace machine parts and cut significant costs in production.
In a recent article in Manufacturer’s Monthly – a great example of functional prototyping in Australia was demonstrated by Centor. The company develops custom integrated doors for residential and commercial buildings. Each unique design requires a proof of concept. Three in-house machinists used to spend all their time fabricating components in low volumes, with additional components being outsourced.
This approach led to inconsistent quality, lengthy production times, and excess costs. Seeking an alternative, a 3D printer was integrated in their workflow, they now run the printer almost 24/7. It enabled them to redirect machining bandwidth, iterate on designs, learn quickly from printed parts, and present compelling proofs of concepts to customers.
With our Steel Efficiency Review® visits we have uncovered how businesses in manufacturing environments are adapting and transitioning for the future. Our customers’ attitudes towards technology, production and talent have evolved and we aim to fully support their journey.
With 1053 Steel Efficiency Review® visits now completed for businesses of all shapes and sizes across a full spectrum of steel industries; we have found that operational improvements requires manufacturers to look at their world through a different lens – to question and reframe the ‘way things are done’ – to determine what is on and off the agenda. Asking the hard questions is the only way to come up with the innovative solutions.
The Steel Efficiency Review® aims to provide recommendations to innovate and improve our customer’s business and at the same time our product and service offer. We work hard with our customers to innovate and develop new solutions.