Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Industrial Design and Development Company Chooses EnvisionTEC for the Production of Accurate Prototypes

ST Medical Devices

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P5 Designers (P5) is a traditional, project-based design and development business based in Milford, NJ. The company boasts dozens of patents in product, packaging and manufacturing design. P5 has built up an enviable reputation in the industry and supports businesses in the production of a wide range of products, from toys to medical equipment.

The elite team at P5 is composed of cross-trained researchers, industrial designers, and engineers providing an end-to-end service including: project management, product preparation, product design, prototyping and packaging design.

Within the research and development process, there is a need for multiple prototypes and iterations of those prototypes. With traditional manufacturing methods, those prototypes are often hand crafted, made from molds or milled.

Since the beginning, members of the team at P5 have been involved with 3D printing. Although additive manufacturing had improved productivity and reduced costs, P5 needed more accurate results. They recognized that to stay ahead of the competition and ensure the best results for their customers they would need to invest in the best machines in the market. For manufacturing, P5 needed a machine that could closely mimic the final injection molded part and give the customer a true reflection of the look and feel of their final product.

After testing a number of brands and technologies, P5 was sold on the EnvisionTEC Perfactory. The printer allows the production of everything from a tiny medical part to large packaging models – quickly, painlessly and accurately. Additionally, the range of resins available for the EnvisionTEC Perfactory provides a huge number of options. This includes hard and soft materials, flexible, tough and even temperature resistant materials.

These processes are both time consuming and expensive, requiring specific skills and tooling to achieve. They also result in a vast amount of wasted material. Additive manufacturing is becoming a vital part of prototyping for many companies. Multiple iterations and design tweaks can be achieved quickly and without the need to reproduce or modify molds. Additionally, unlike milling techniques, there is no specialist tooling required. P5 has been using 3D printing for a number of years, recognizing that its implementation has not only removed many of the costs associated with the R&D process but also improved the speed at which concepts can be turned into real-world objects. Multiple iterations of a prototype can be printed simultaneously. Speeding up the decision-making process.

“3D printing is vitally important to the product design process. It helps us bring into the 3D dimensional realm some of the concepts that we have. The ease of use, the amount of detail we get and the vast materials selections available was something that was missing in most other manufacturers. The quicker we can start putting things into our hands, the quicker we can start developing the fit and feel that is so vital to any good product design part.” – Mr. Paul Carse – Owner, P5 Designers

“When we are in the heat of a project, especially in the very early stages where we are doing a lot of design development, we will use this machine for maybe 2-3 weeks straight with non-stop building. Reliability has never been an issue.” – Ms. Kelly Duncan – Industrial Designer, P5 Designers

Since the purchase of the EnvisionTEC Perfactory, the team at P5 have embraced its flexibility and speed. The accuracy of the machine has allowed them to produce prototypes to very high tolerances and accurately to their digital designs. Accurate prototypes that reflect the production items can be produced and handled by the customer very quickly. This allows clients to see and feel their vision and adjust designs to achieve the look and feel they desire. The dimensions of the build plate and Z height on the Perfactory allow for multiple iterations of a design to be printed at the same time, so options can be presented to the client. This capacity also allows for larger objects to be produced with equally fine detail. When adjustments are required, these can be quickly achieved with re-prints in a matter of minutes or hours.

The patented technology employed by the printer results in exceptional surface quality with very little visible stepping. This increases the speed of prototype production further by reducing the finishing time required. The range of EnvisionTEC materials and the ability to painlessly switch these for different jobs makes the machine very flexible, allowing them to fulfill the needs of more customers. For example, the ability to print medical devices on one print, then switch to clear bottles on the next.

After using the Perfactory for hundreds, if not thousands of jobs it has proved reliable and provides consistent results time after time. The team at P5 can rely on the machine, knowing that even when leaving it overnight to complete prints, they will return to a completed job, and a printer ready to accept the next.

“We want to make our concept models as close to injection moulding as possible. So we’ll make sure that everything has a uniform 1-1.5mm wall thickness which a Perfactory has no problem doing. It makes really clean crisp parts, which is great.” – Ms. Kelly Duncan – Industrial Designer, P5 Designers

The large Z height on the Perfactory allows for the production of even large models. Additionally models can be printed horizontally or vertically to maximize yield per print. Even small medical devices can be produced to extremely high tolerances.

Since EnvisionTEC machines are STL agnostic the team at P5 are not locked to a single CAD provider. Moving is simple. Additionally, as all EnvisionTEC Perfactory machines are based on the same principles and are compatible with the same resins, expanding the printing capacity is easy. Machines can be added without the vast cost of retraining their team or implementing new software.

EnvisionTEC offers a full range of desktop, full-production and high-speed continuous 3D printers for the production of highly detailed prototypes for design verification and testing or for real mass production of custom products. Learn more here. Want to download the case study, you can go here.

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