Dutch design, engineering and manufacturing firm Promolding has set up a new 3D-printed injection moulded division (PRIM).
The move follows the company's decision to buy a Stratasys' Object Connex 3D Printer for in-house prototyping applications, and to expedite injection moulding processes following growing demand from customers to develop more complex products and solutions faster.
Jeroen Gross, product development manager for Promolding, says: “We can use the technology in the early development phases to speed up the design process and develop, review and adapt prototypes earlier, but also extend the efficiencies into production through our PRIM process. It really has been a game-changer and we've seen the benefits passed onto our customers.”
The venture resulted in lead time savings of 93%. According to Gross, traditionally the injection mould development process required at least a six-week lead time. But by designing and 3D printing the moulds in-house “we can produce complex versions in just three days”.
Promolding recently developed a fibre optic sensor housing for Fugro, a Dutch multinational company, which specialises in integrated geotechnical, survey, subsea and geoscience services. It designed and 3D printed moulds for the sensor in a matter of days. Using one 3D printed mould, the team were able to produce more than 50 samples of the sensor housing in a number of final product materials including polypropylene, thermoplastic elastomer and polybutylene terephthalate.