Madeleine Fiello December 10, 2019

2019 brought many significant advances in the world of additive manufacturing (AM). Manufacturers around the world are increasingly using 3D printing for serial production, AM is employed for a plethora of applications across numerous industries, and developments in technology and software are driving higher quality standards and better production efficiencies than ever before. Furthermore, co-creation between companies across various industries and Materialise’s Manufacturing experts made huge differences in products and processes, as proven with successful projects carried out during 2019. Explore our top cases from this past year and consider bringing your own concepts to life with AM.

Labman uses AM for almost all of their solutions.

 

Collaboration with Materialise

Labman’s work with Materialise is largely done through orders on the online platform Materialise OnSite, which allows their team to create designs and have them in their hands in just a matter of days. Working with Materialise allows them to also leverage 30 years of AM expertise for projects that require more knowledge on 3DP requirements. While Labman has now invested in an in-house printer to complete their AM toolkit, they still call on the design & engineering team at Materialise to help them with projects that call for more experience, such as tolerance issues with certain material combinations.

Benefits of AM

The team at Labman sets out to design custom laboratory automation products and solutions, almost all of which now include 3D-printed elements — both as prototypes and end-use parts. Since they design unique solutions for each project, 3D printing allows the team to design above and beyond what they were able to with traditional manufacturing. Designing for AM enables Labman to craft complex solutions even with space restraints and specific functional requirements, while gaining operational benefits to boot: faster time to market, lighter parts, reduced costs, and quicker adaptions.

“What we’ve been able to do is normalize something new by finding a way of working that suits us and the right 3DP partner to help get us moving quickly.”

Rob Hodgson, Inventor, Labman

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Samsonite: 3DP in every stage

3D printing has enabled innovation at Samsonite for the past ten years.

 

Collaboration with Materialise

Although Samsonite requires 100-150 3D-printed parts each week, they turn to Materialise’s printing services instead of bringing production in-house to benefit from leading-edge technology. The Materialise team thoroughly understands the 3D printing journey and constantly updates processes in order with the industry’s newest additions, which the Samsonite team finds invaluable and much more resource-intensive to accomplish on their own.

Benefits of AM

Samsonite has set itself apart from competitors as a brand that is constantly striving to innovate. Over the past ten years, their innovation has largely included AM. Whether it’s for visual prototypes, functional prototypes, or production line tools, Samsonite utilizes Materialise’s 3D printing services to meet their high standards and speed up time-to-market. Using this method for prototypes allows for cheaper production as well as thorough testing while saving time, costs, weight, and more when it comes to production line tools.

“3D printing helps us get the right design on the market fast — while meeting the high standards our customers expect from the brand.” – Vivien Cheng, Head of Product Development, Samsonite Europe

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Suction gripper: 94% lighter, 50% cheaper

Final suction gripper design after optimization by the Materialise D&E team.

 

Collaboration with Materialise

This customer had previous experience with plastic AM, so they were aware of the advantages the right design could bring and wanted to see how Metal 3D Printing could improve this particular project of theirs. They submitted their own AM design to our design and engineering team who then recognized that there was room for further improvement. Although the customer had improved weight with their iteration, manufacturing costs were 6% higher. After our D&E team went on to improve the design, the final result was 94% lighter, 50% cheaper, and more performant.

Benefits of AM

For this unique case of part optimization with AM, the cost savings derived from part weight reduction were immense. Additionally, the improved surfaces and aerodynamics that could be included thanks to AM design capabilities contributed to a more effective design with better vacuum distribution and less risk of leakage.

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TAILORED FITS: mass customization

Co-creation between Materialise and TAILORED FITS resulted in a comfortable, strong, customized ski boot.

 

Collaboration with Materialise

The story of Materialise and TAILORED FITS is one of rewarding co-creation. In order to create their mass-customized ski boots, TAILORED FITS digitally scans customers’ feet in-store, designs the boot for 3D printing, and then sends the design to Materialise Manufacturing for production. In order to accomplish their dream of creating these boots and a completely digital supply chain, Materialise and TAILORED FITS embarked on a co-creation journey where our know-how of 3D printing technology and materials was combined with that of ski boot requirements to result in the successful process in place today.

Benefits of AM

The objective that these unique boots were designed to carry out is to provide a balance of comfort and high performance for skiers. Previously, ski boots either provided comfort for casual skiers or power for competitive skiers — the market lacked a product that could achieve both. The customized result with a closed liner is powerful, comfortable, and warm thanks to bespoke design, Fused Deposition Modeling technology, and flexible material.

“The co-creation process was exciting for us and a real eye-opener. We could truly evaluate the various technologies.” – Reto Rindlisbacher, Founder, TAILORED FITS

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Looking to get started on your own big ideas? Chat with our project managers to discuss your goals and concepts, and we’ll work with you to bring your projects to life.

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