SIGMADESIGN reduces costs and improves design with HP 3D printing
July 22, 2019 in Case study
HP Multi Jet Fusion Technology: The Origins.
SIGMADESIGN is a design, product development and engineering services company. It offers solutions that help customers transform their products from concept to production, but not only. Among other services, the company, in addition to the realization of the final product, provides industrial design, quality assurance with implementation of testing and engineering support.
The company has worked in partnership with HP to develop the HP Fusion line of 3D printers. Having access to the features provided by HP’s 3D Jet Fusion printing solution, SIGMADESIGN began to think about how to use the product.
The idea came from a company customer who needed a fruit labelling machine. In the process of product development and improvement, SIGMADESIGN began looking for solutions to use HP Multi Jet Fusion technology to assist in the production of machine components. Their goals were to save time and cost while improving design.
The company’s objective
“When we design and manufacture fruit labelling machines, we usually use injection moulding and workpiece processing,” says Matt Cameron, VP of Engineering at SIGMADESIGN. “At low volumes, these traditional techniques may not be useful. We wanted to reduce costs, but also improve the speed and flexibility of our design process.”
The fruit labelling machine is an industrial device. It is designed to apply labels to fruit and vegetables in the simplest and most economical way. It applies thousands of labels per hour, but is also precise enough to ensure that no fruit is damaged.
These types of machines are compact devices, consisting of thousands of moving parts. A traditional production technique such as processing is expensive, especially for small batches of complex parts. A significant cost has also been found in the event that parts need to be changed or modified.
Choosing Hp Jet Fusion as your 3D printing solution
“With the HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solution,” says Cameron, “we saw the opportunity to redesign the fruit labelling machine. We were able to develop the parts faster and produce them in short batches, practically on demand.”
SIGMADESIGN’s engineers have previously worked with 3D printing, creating a connection for vacuum application, but its design, which included a right angle, created a design constraint for production. The company thus created a more efficient design that eliminated the right angle, solving the friction potential with other parts. First, the team attempted to print it in 3D using an FDM printer, but failed to meet the company’s requirements. The part was then printed using the new HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printer. From a far higher quality point of view. The part was leak-free and proved robust for a production environment.
The moulded part has been qualified as suitable for production. The SIGMADESIGN team then compared the economic aspects. Thanks to the HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solution, the company had the opportunity to reduce costs and improve a key component of the fruit labelling machine. With the successful production of the vacuum fitting, the company’s engineers identified a total of 877 other parts that could be printed in 3D.
With this new production technology, the engineering team gained new design freedom with respect to each individual part produced. HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology allows parts to be constructed in an additional way, layer by layer.
The arm of the flapper
Another example of components that has been identified is a hinged arm of the rotary sensor. The team has in fact created a new design that features a cage structure that can be pressure mounted with a ball bearing. It serves as a counterweight when the workpiece is mounted on a rotating sensor.
During the installation of the ball bearing, the material used for the production of the flapper arm with rotating sensor should have flexed without cracking or deformation. The nylon used in HP’s 3D Jet Fusion printers easily withstood the rigors of ball bearing installation. This eliminated the need for tools and fasteners for installation, saving time and money.
“With the HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solution we were able to optimize the parts that improved the overall design of the fruit labelling machine while reducing costs.”
– Bill Huseby, President and CEO, SIGMADESIGN.
The winning result
“With the HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solution, we were able to optimize parts that improved the overall design of the fruit labelling machine while reducing costs,” said Bill Huseby, President and CEO, SIGMADESIGN. “In addition, HP Multi Jet Fusion technology has enabled us to create these parts faster. Finally, it simplified production. Once the new parts were approved, we immediately went into production, using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, the same design and parts we used in prototyping”.
Taking advantage of additive manufacturing, SIGMADESIGN engineers were able to design the best parts for their machine. By eliminating design constraints, they were able to create parts that fit into the available space, rather than the other way around.
For SIGMADESIGN and its customer, the impact was profound. The freedom offered by additive manufacturing has allowed engineers to build more performing and less expensive parts. The productivity and reliability of HP’s 3D Jet Fusion printers enabled them to design, prototype and produce parts more effectively.