Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Water Pik Relies on Desktop 3D Printing for Faster Product Development

ST Medical Devices

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Everyone knows the importance of flossing their teeth, but I can’t think of one person who actually enjoys doing it. It’s one of those things that’s necessary but unpleasant. But Water Pik came up with a way to make it a little bit more fun, at least in my opinion. A Water Pik tool uses a stream of pulsating water to clean between teeth and below the gum line, and there’s just something more pleasant about that than manipulating a piece of waxed string between your teeth.

Water Pik was founded in 1962, and has remained successful as the top water flosser brand – to its credit, I didn’t even know there were other water flosser brands. The company also makes massaging shower heads. Water Pik was recently acquired by Church & Dwight Co., and although it has been around since the middle of the last century, Water Pik has stayed modern and up to date in its manufacturing practices.

Water Pik has been using LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printers to create fixtures and components for quality control testing and product development. Before buying its first LulzBot 3D printer, the company used SLA 3D printers, but found that technology to be inconvenient as the consumables were expensive and the printers themselves were not user serviceable. Water Pik is a big fan of LulzBot 3D printers for their cost-effectiveness as well as the many options available in terms of materials.

“The largest and most valuable benefit of the TAZ 6 3D Printers is that they have reduced our costs of printing fixture components dramatically,” said Engineering Machinist Paul Burdick. “We primarily use ABS filament but have printed Nylon and HIPS as well. The PEI bed cover sheet is great to work with different filaments.”

Using 3D printing means that Water Pik can quickly produce fixtures and test them, then modify the designs as needed and quickly print them again. This allows product development to happen much more quickly, so lead time is reduced.

“Water Pik’s work with LulzBot 3D Printers is a perfect example of how innovative companies are using desktop 3D printers to improve their development processes. By creating custom testing fixtures that normally would have taken many more weeks and dollars to produce, they are able to deliver higher quality and better performing products,” Ben Malouf, LulzBot Director of Marketing, told 3DPrint.com.

“As a manufacturer ourselves, we know that product development is much less glamorous than most people imagine. Product features and industrial design are just the beginning. What people don’t see are the months and months of testing and design tweaks that go into a product like a Water Pik dental irrigator. We’re thrilled that LulzBot 3D Printers make that process more efficient for companies like Water Pik.”

LulzBot 3D printers have proven themselves to be versatile machines that customers are using for a variety of purposes, from educational aids to prosthetics. Eye-catching human interest stories like these tend to draw more attention, but LulzBot’s printers are also quietly working hard to help make the products we use every day.

“Desktop 3D printers like the LulzBot TAZ 6 are such versatile tools in the hands of engineers,” Malouf continued. “On a regular basis we find out about new and unique use cases. It’s gratifying to make and sell products that enable innovation in such a wide variety of industries.”

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source: LulzBot / Images: Water Pik]

 

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