A leader in the design and manufacture of inventive electrical solutions such as electrical enclosures, fastening systems, and heat trace solutions, US-based company, nVent has managed to drastically reduce their material costs and lead time after using Stratasys FDM technology to produce an effective support tool.
One of the challenges the engineers working at nVent had faced was creating a support structure for a large water distribution manifold to do leak testing for a new test chamber.
With the test chamber being long and narrow, the said manifold needed to be carefully inserted without being damaged and necessitated the creation of a support structure.
Besides having to be durable in accommodating up to 40 load/unload cycles per day, the support structure also required the use of low sliding friction to minimize the force needed to insert and remove the manifold.
The initial solution was to produce the support structure by machining metal, but it presented several drawbacks:
- Fabrication lead time was lengthy
- Machining metal will produce substantial waste material
- Manufacturability constraints of the support’s geometry
- Inevitable metal-on-metal sliding friction between the support tool and the chamber
First launched in October 2019, Diran 410MF07 is a tough thermoplastic tooling material with a lubricious, slippery surface finish and resolved the above challenges with:
- Significantly reduced lead time
- Lower material costs
- More design freedom to produce a conformal single-piece tool
- Lower tool-to-chamber surface friction
In using Diran 410MF07, the company enjoyed a drastic reduction of 90% in lead time as they could produce a support structure in under 22 hours, as opposed to using their internal machine shop that would need two to three weeks lead time. There was also 56% of material costs savings against machining at a cost of $1000 for material and labor.
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