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Prototyping and manufacturing machine parts with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing

SigmaDesign creates 3D printed replacement parts for fruit-labeling machine.

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Industry

Industrial – Machinery equipment

Challenge

To save costs, time, and improve the design of tools for high-value equipment sold in low volumes.

 

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Results

HP Multi Jet Fusion enabled SIGMADESIGN to achieve the objective as well as identify 877 more opportunities for 3D printed tools.

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Material

HP 3D High Reusability2 PA 12

Technology

HP Multi Jet Fusion technology

HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D Printer

CHALLENGE

Manufacturing machine parts with 3D printing to optimize cost and lead times

SIGMADESIGN is a product design, development, and engineering services firm that offers solutions to help clients take their products from concept to production and beyond. 

 

SIGMADESIGN worked with HP to develop the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution and brainstormed ways they could use it for 3D printed tools and to 3D print replacement parts.

 

One of SIGMADESIGN’s clients needed parts for a fruit-labeling machine, so the company weighed their options. A traditional manufacturing technique like CNC machining was expensive, especially for short runs of complex parts.

There are also significant costs when parts need to be changed or modified. SIGMADESIGN first attempted to 3D print using an FDM 3D printer, but the part did not meet the company’s quality requirements as it was too porous and lacked strength. 

 

In the end, SIGMADESIGN chose HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology to assist in 3D printing tools for the machine, with hopes to save money and time while simultaneously improving the design.  

 

Parts produced using the HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D Printer were superior in quality, according to SIGMADESIGN, didn’t leak, and were durable enough for a production environment.

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“With the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, we were able to optimize parts that improved the overall design of the fruit-labeling machine, while at the same time reducing cost. HP Multi Jet Fusion technology allowed us to create parts faster and simplify production.”

Bill Huseby, President and CEO, SIGMADESIGN

SOLUTION

Manufacturing industrial machinery parts and replacement parts with HP Multi Jet Fusion

One of SIGMADESIGN’s key principles is to “prototype early and prototype often.” Because there is so little setup required with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology, prototypes can be produced quickly and economically, without sacrificing the quality of the 3D printed tools. 

 

This has allowed engineers to create a version of the part using CAD software and then quickly test and iterate their design in the physical environment.

The nylon material used in HP’s Jet Fusion 3D printers provided the necessary strength, abrasion resistance, and bearing surface needed for this application. Designing and 3D printing multiple iterations for the part were more efficient as fewer iterations were needed.

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RESULTS

Quick iterations for prototyping

SIGMADESIGN found that producing one of their parts—a vacuum applicator fitting—using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology saved them $32,000 compared with the traditional machining method.

 

The engineering team enjoyed new freedom in how they could design with HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, which allows for the building of parts additively, layer by layer. CNC machining and other subtractive technologies, which remove material in order to manufacture, are more limited in what they can produce. 

With the design constraints removed, they were able to create 3D printed tools and 3D printed replacement parts that fit the available space, instead of having to design the machine to fit around certain parts. SIGMADESIGN engineers also identified 877 other opportunities for such applications.

 

“With the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, we could develop 3D printed tools faster and produce them in short batches, pretty much on demand,” explained Matt Cameron, VP of Engineering at SIGMADESIGN.

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Disclaimers
  1. All images are data courtesy of SIGMADESIGN
  2. HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solutions using HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 provide up to 80% powder reusability ratio, producing functional parts batch after batch. For testing, material is aged in real printing conditions and powder is tracked by generations (worst case for reusability). Parts are then made from each generation and tested for mechanical properties and accuracy.