Stratasys, leader in applied additive technology solutions, announced that Dutch 3D service bureau, Visual First, is using FDM Nylon 12CF carbon-filled thermoplastic to replace metal machine parts for its customer, The Chocolate Factory.
The ability to 3D print machinery replacement parts on-demand has significantly reduced machine downtime, ensuring production line continuity for the company.
Based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, The Chocolate Factory runs a network of packaging machines, with the company’s daily throughput relying on the smooth operation of a simple, yet crucial, hook-shaped metal part that lifts wrapped bars onto a conveyer belt. A problem occurs when the part malfunctions – typically with such regularity that it necessitates replacement three times a month. As each replacement part is handmade, delivery can take over a month.
“It is crucial that the packaging machine is always operational, especially during hectic periods such as Christmas,” explains Carl van de Rijzen, business owner at Visual First. “With Stratasys additive manufacturing, we can produce customized replacement parts on-demand that can perform just as effectively as the metal machine parts. We can 3D print and deliver production parts to The Chocolate Factory in under a week, which is vital to ensuring manufacturing line continuity.”
According to van de Rijzen, the team at The Chocolate Factory are impressed with the high stiffness-to-weight ratio of the FDM Nylon 12CF, resulting in parts of extreme rigidity.
“The success of the 3D printed part was instantly clear – the material is impossible to bend,” says van de Rijzen. “The part withstood all tests on the machine and multiple runs were completed without incident. The factory is now enjoying increased production throughput by replacing the metal machine part with our 3D printed version.”
17 January 2018