3D Systems today revealed that three major manufacturing companies have adopted its additive manufacturing systems into their production workflows to improve productivity and cost. The new adopters are: telecommunications company Nokia, medical device manufacturer rms Company and GF Precicast, a technology supplier for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine (IGT) markets.
More and more companies are realizing the potential benefits of integrating additive manufacturing into production workflows, as 3D printing offers unprecedented levels of design freedom and manufacturing agility. Further, as 3D printing technologies and platforms become more sophisticated, the benefits continue to grow, with scalability and cost of operations becoming increasingly attractive features.
“3D Systems is expanding its production workflow solutions use case by use case, through our collaboration with global manufacturers,” commented Vyomesh Joshi, President and CEO of 3D Systems. “Our unique ability to apply software, hardware, materials and services, specifically tuned for key verticals such as medical device design and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, and consumer goods is helping our customers achieve greater productivity, durability, and repeatability and lower their total cost of operation.”
Telecommunications and consumer electronics company Nokia has reportedly integrated a Figure 4 Standalone system to complement its “Factory in a Box” mobile manufacturing solution. While rms Company and GF Precicast have adopted 3D Systems’ metal DMP platforms to open up new opportunities.
Nokia’s Factory in a Box
Nokia launched its “Factory in a Box” concept in 2018 in collaboration with a number of tech providers. In short, the project aims to show how manufacturers can keep up with and even stay ahead of the demands of Industry 4.0 with agile production. As the “in a box” name implies, the agile production capabilities can be packed up, transported and reassembled in just hours.
The Figure 4 Standalone 3D printer is the latest technology to be added to the “Factory in a Box” configuration, adding plastic 3D printing to the project’s AR/VR and robotics capabilities. The factory, powered by Nokia private 4G/5G connectivity, presents a compact, flexible and semi-automated production workflow.
“After the positive feedback we received for our factory in a box concept last year, it was important to reach a new level with version 2.0,” explained Grant Marshall, VP supply network & engineering at Nokia. “We did so in terms of connectivity, because factory in a box 2.0 is integrated into the Nokia Worldwide IoT Network Grid and has Nokia Digital Automation Cloud on board.
“But we also wanted to add new and advanced technology like 3D printing. 3D Systems’ Figure 4 Standalone was an obvious choice because of its high throughput and six sigma repeatability. These capabilities are exactly what we want to showcase as part of our conscious manufacturing solution where speed, accuracy, and durability are critical.”
rms Company scales up
Based in Minneapolis, rms Company is a contract manufacturer serving the medical device industry. Three years ago, the company invested in its first metal 3D printing technology, the 3D Systems ProX DMP 320. After the successful adoption of this first system, the company acquired 11 more ProX DMP 320 units and is awaiting the delivery of two new DMP Flex 350 3D printers.
“We made the decision to integrate metal additive manufacturing into our service offering,” said Lee Zachman, President of rms Company. “Our customers require products that can only be manufactured with additive technology, and we’ve made the investments necessary to support them.
“3D Systems’ application engineers collaborated with us to design and optimize workflows and ensure a smooth integration of the equipment. As a result, we’ve been able to increase capacity through new applications and generate new sources of income. We see continued growth in the metals additive space and are committed to this technology.”
GF Precicast sees cost benefits
Like rms Company, Swiss company GF Precicast has recognized the advantages of 3D System’s DMP metal AM technology. The advanced technology provider for the global aerospace and gas turbine markets leverages the DMP Factory 500 and DMP Factory 350 as alternatives to investment casting for super alloys. The AM technology has offered the company significant cost savings among other benefits.
“GF Precicast was an early adopter of the DMP Factory 500,” said Paolo Gennaro, Managing Director of GF Precicast Additive SA. “We’ve seen great success incorporating this system into our production workflow to produce structural components. We’re in the process of certifying these components produced with additive technology, using super alloys that are able to improve performance while reducing costs.”
This week, 3D Systems is participating in both AMUG in Chicago and Hannover Messe in Germany, where it will showcase its AM platforms and present a number of application areas, including the three mentioned above. Nokia, for its part, will be presenting its Factory in a Box (featuring the Figure 4 system) at Hannover Messe.