Low volume production perfection
Dave Price looks at the reasons why our bureau is so perfect for low volume production.
In operation since 2008, Laser Lines’ bureau service is just one of the things that makes us stand out from the competition. With 18 rapid manufacturing systems at our Banbury base and the choice of 12 different engineering-grade thermoplastics, we provide the largest range of FDM materials and build sizes available from any rapid manufacturing bureau in the UK.
Today, the variety of work we’re carrying out in the bureau is greater than ever, with more and more customers coming to us for low-volume production. Used for rapid prototyping since the late 80s, 3D printing is by no means a new technology but, when it comes to low volume production, it’s still in its relative infancy. This is where the knowledge and expertise of our bureau service is proving invaluable to our customers.
Effective rapid manufacturing for low volume production is all about delivering efficiencies, both in terms of cost and time savings. Businesses are realising average time savings of 65% alongside cost savings of up to 60% when comparing rapid manufacturing to traditional methods of manufacture. You can see why more companies are using our bureau to thoroughly investigate how their businesses could use the technology.
For every customer who uses our bureau, we ensure each project is examined on a per-application basis. We have the vital experience and expertise for us to understand completely the end application.
It’s only then that we can make the right recommendations in terms of what is and isn’t possible, as well as suggestions on the optimum materials, exploring the customer’s exact requirements, fine-tuning these applications and coming up with suggestions that work for them.
It’s very much a two-way process, with our in-house experts making suggestions based on their experience of design for 3D printing. For example, where in the past components may have been manufactured as three or four individual aluminium parts which then had to be bolted together, FDM technology enables these parts to be manufactured as a single piece, with no further fabrication required. The design rules for rapid manufacturing are not as limiting as the traditional engineering design constraints, something our bureau team can advise accordingly.
When it comes to 3D printing for low-volume production, there is a whole different set of rules to abide by, particularly regarding batch traceability, repeatability and accuracy. Again, our vast industry and application experience means that we can advise customers on this, offering batch traceability on all of our materials along with inspection reports and certificate of conformance where required.
We’re already doing a significant amount of low volume production work for companies in the aerospace, defence and automotive industries. Our bureau is helping more businesses to realise the significant efficiency savings that can be made through rapid manufacturing for low volume production, with our comprehensive service ensuring they get it right first time.