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Promoulding cuts injection moulding lead times with 3D printing

Promoulding cuts injection moulding lead times with 3D printing

News 06.09.2016

Using Stratasys Polyjet 3d printing technology, Promolding has expanded its operations with the introduction of a 3D-Printed Injection Moulding division (PRIM). Utilising Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing solutions to produce moulds, the company has slashed its injection mould lead times for its customers, producing moulds in just three days.

Image 1 Main copy

Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex color, multi-material 3D Printer has been a key driver in the launch of PRIM.

With a reputation for creating high-tech plastic parts using high performance polymer-based solutions, Promolding provides advanced designs and products to a diverse customer base, including household names such as Heineken and Airbus. Having initially utilised Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing to solve a number of complex applications within product development, the company has extended the use of its Objet500 Connex 3D Printer to enhance the injection moulding process – opening the door to a new business opportunity.

“We became increasingly aware of the need for a 3D printer that would help us optimise our product development process,” said Jeroen Gross, Product Development Manager, Promolding. “We looked at several different options, but fell in love with Stratasys’ Objet Connex 3D Printer and its ability to not only improve our prototyping, but also become a key driver for our PRIM business. Traditionally, injection mould development required at least a six-week lead time, but by designing and 3D printing the moulds in-house, we can produce moulds in just three days.

“PRIM is available to our customers as an additional service in parallel to prototyping and traditional injection moulding,” he added. “In the future, we believe PRIM will be seen as a commonplace process of its own. We have come a long way and we’ll continue to explore further applications in which PolyJet 3D printing can enhance our offering.”

With increased flexibility and significant time efficiencies a key part of the PRIM division’s value proposition, Promolding is able to rapidly design and develop very complex parts and products for its customers.

Image 2 Main

Fugro fibre optic sensor housings in PBT material produced via 3D printed injection moulds on the Stratasys Objet500 Connex 3D printer.

When recently designing a fibre optic sensor house for Fugro, a world leader in integrated geotechnical, survey, subsea and geoscience services, the company quickly produced a series of complex moulds using its Objet500 Connex 3D Printer in order to meet the customer’s tight deadline. Each mould enabled the production of over 50 samples of the intricate sensor housing in a number of final product materials, including PP, TPE and PBT.

“Particularly with the development of bigger and more complex products, it is crucial as a business that we are as efficient as possible throughout the product development process, without compromising on quality,” explained Gross. “Having our 3D printer has enabled us to achieve this and given us an incredible level of flexibility. 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.”

“Additive manufacturing has the power to transform business models and Promolding is a prime example,” stated Andy Middleton, Stratasys EMEA President. “We are seeing more and more customers realise the full potential of our PolyJet 3D printing technology, going beyond the immediate efficiencies within product design and pioneering the disruption of traditional manufacturing processes. In the case of injection moulding, 3D printed injection moulds are redefining the price-performance benchmark for low volume production, giving manufacturers the flexibility to produce products in the final injected material faster than ever before.”

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