Specializing in the designing and manufacturing of cabin furnishings and premium seating for commercial aerospace clients like Airbus and Boeing, the company also does modifications for the retrofitting of existing aircraft.
However, as a supplier, Jamco America faced unique challenges, among them tight deadlines and most significantly the expectations for innovation. While there was access to industrial 3D printers, they were located in the Tokyo headquarters and lead time was roughly a month back and forth. Back in America, the lead time would take a few weeks at minimum for local suppliers and would cost them several hundreds of dollars on average for a part.
The company tried at first with an entry-level 3D printer costing a couple of thousand dollars to resolve their challenges but were disappointed with the printer’s frequent breakdowns and part quality that didn’t meet their requirements.
Pushing on with their effort to reduce time, John Cornell, Manager of Product Research & Development at Jamco America, and his team sourced for multiple industrial 3D printers that could be had at a lower price point and allow them to print in parallel at the same time, instead of a higher-priced 3D printer.
They settled on MakerBot METHOD after looking at 15 models, and the simple plug-and-play 3D printer has helped Jamco America to meet its goals of rapid prototyping and with many design iterations very quickly.
Among the many functional prototypes they have printed, one of them was a dual latch system for an aircraft privacy door that had necessary overhangs which would require some sacrificial material of which METHOD supports.
Another application was an aircraft crew step where they were able to iterate and print 48 inch-long extrusions in multiple sections before bonding them together, to allow for testing and demonstrating the functionality. The cost of using METHOD was much lesser than if they were to outsource the production to a 3rd party.