Massachusetts-based industrial 3D printing company Rize Inc., known for its augmented polymer deposition technology, introduced its desktop Rize One 3D printer last summer: the printer, with its high-speed support removal, pretty much eliminates the need for post-processing, saving users all kinds of time. We saw first-hand just last month that, as promised, the support structures do snap off quite quickly. The Rize One was the subject of a recent case study at Boston Engineering, also in Massachusetts, which provides engineering consulting and product design services for many industries, including consumer products, robotics, medical devices, and commercial products. The company has an FDM 3D printer in its additive manufacturing lab, but it was taking too long for the engineers, who are not housed in the lab, to get their 3D printed parts.
Boston Engineering works hard to beat its competition and solve client challenges, by quickly getting products to market or designing the products themselves. But, you need speed to be the best, and the company’s current system just wasn’t working. The additive manufacturing lab is located far away from the offices, because the current 3D printer’s post-processing method needs the parts to soak in a chemical bath to remove support materials. The issue was causing a major bottleneck, as engineers were having to wait up to three days to get their 3D printed parts back from the lab. Add this to any possible design iterations that resulted in further 3D prints, and you can see the problem. In addition, the company’s FDM 3D printer was costing Boston Engineering too much money, what with the high operating costs that came with the necessary post-processing (materials, handling, labor, etc.).
John DePiano, the Director of Product Development at Boston Engineering, was searching for ways to increase the speed to market for the company’s clients, and ended up visiting the nearby Rize headquarters to see the Rize One industrial 3D printer in action – with zero post-processing necessary once the part had been printed. He realized this could be the solution he’d been searching for to speed things up for the engineers.
Instead of being placed in the additive manufacturing lab, Boston Engineering’s new Rize One 3D printer made its home in a cubicle near the engineers who need it to print parts. As the desktop 3D printer is portable, environmentally-friendly, and requires no post-processing, it’s safe to use in an office environment – by design.
Thanks to the new office technology, the engineers are enjoying much greater design and development speed, as each week they’re able to print out up to a dozen prototypes, most of which are system components for medical testing equipment, used to help explain the designs to clients.
“It’s a desktop unit for a reason,” Rize President and CEO Frank Marangell told 3DPrint.com of the Rize One. “We want to put it in an office, so it has to be designed for an office. It can’t offgas, there are no VOCs, and there’s low noise. It has to be an industrial product.”
Because the Rize One has a low water absorption uptake of <.01%, the prototypes can be used for almost anything, even submersible vehicle parts. The engineers can even 3D print client logos and equipment version numbers right onto the Rize One’s isotropic thermoplastic parts, which is incredibly helpful for Boston Engineering’s clients.
DePiano explained, “Rize One helps us get the idea across. It gives us a faster and more effective way to communicate and sell our designs to our clients. Recently, one of our clients took a Rize 3D printed part back to his office to show his team. It was far more useful than asking him to try to explain what he saw in a file.”
Instead of waiting for two or three days to get a part from the additive manufacturing lab’s FDM 3D printer, the engineers can print out usable parts in one day, because they don’t have to wait for any supports to dissolve in a chemical bath. The Rize part supports can simply be removed by hand, maybe even while they’re on a conference call at their desk. This optimizes the design approval process, since parts can be built, printed, and evaluated, on the same day.
“It’s so convenient. Whenever we need to print a part, the printer is right here. We just print it and we have it. We don’t have to wait for the lab,” said DePiano.
In addition to 3D printed parts at an increased rate of speed because there’s no required post-processing, the Rize One is also delivering an increased cost savings to Boston Engineering. First off, the printer itself cost a lot less than the company’s existing FDM 3D printer. Secondly, post-processing labor, disposal, material, and facilities costs have been completely eliminated, and on top of all that, the printer’s Rizium One material costs less than half what the company was paying for its other 3D printer’s materials.
Boston Engineering is already looking into getting a second Rize One – the engineers located on the floor above the current 3D printer have also been enjoying its convenience, ease of use, and speed. DePiano hopes that as the Boston Engineering team grows bigger, they will be able to add an additional Rize One 3D printer upstairs. The company’s future goals with the Rize One include 3D printing finite element analyses (FEA) so the clients can easily see what parts need to be enhanced, and enhancing detail design studies with Rize’s soon-to-arrive full CMYK color capability. Also, since the less expensive Rizium One material is hardy enough so 3D printed parts can be folded from a flat into an actual shape, the engineers hope to move more fixtures, functional parts, and one-offs to the 3D printer’s workload. Discuss in the Rize One forum at 3DPB.com.
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