The quick production of a custom filter might not be something that makes the list of things that normally excite you, but this story is really more about the possibilities that creation represents rather than the object itself.
When Eiger Torrance, a company the develops bead mills for a wide range of industries, found itself with a tight deadline, they asked for assistance from Croft Additive Manufacturing, a specialist manufacturer. Eiger Torrance needed a bespoke wedge wire filter…and they needed it in two days. Unfortunately, this type of custom creation would normally take closer to a month than a weekend. Luckily, however, Croft does not rely on traditional manufacturing techniques.
Utilizing Croft’s advanced technology, they were able to create the piece within the extremely short time period required by the customer’s brief. This was a great relief to the service manager at Eiger Torrance, Alan Poole, who described the impact that additive manufacturing had on the possibilities for satisfying their client’s needs:
“Croft’s efficient way of working made it possible for us to fulfill a delivery of a client’s new machine on time. We were not only impressed by the fast turnaround and high quality of the product Croft delivered, but discovering additive manufacturing has opened up a number of possibilities for our company and we’ll definitely use this innovative technology for a number of our other products in the future.”
Croft Filters, a Warrington-based business, was founded in 1986 by brothers Mark and Neil Burns. Recently, the brothers teamed up with entrepreneur Darren Travis and opened a sister company Croft Additive Manufacturing.
Director and Co-Founder Neil Burns explained the reasons behind Croft’s expansion into additive manufacturing:
“Additive manufacturing has been around for years but it is only very recently taking off as a viable manufacturing method, as the benefits are increasingly highlighted and understood. We invested in an additive manufacturing machine two years ago to offer our customers innovative products that are not possible to create using traditional manufacturing methods, so it’s great to introduce companies such as Eiger Torrance to the technology.”
The filter that was created is a wedge wire filter designed to extend time between maintenance cycles in certain high pressure applications. As the filter was fabricated in a single piece, something uniquely possible due to the process of 3D printing, it was not only able to be produced more rapidly than its traditional counterpart but also possesses a greater degree of strength and rigidity. In addition, the 3D printed part is significantly lighter than the piece it replaces.
Burns elaborated on the advantage given by utilizing additive manufacturing for the production of parts under these circumstances:
“The component Eiger Torrance required would typically have a lead time of around four to six weeks for most wedge wire manufacturers. However, as Croft specializes in additive manufacturing, the 48 hour deadline was achievable without compromising on quality.”
What are your thoughts on Croft’s technique? Let us know in the 3D Printed Filters forum thread on 3DPB.com.