Business Situation: Development of the “Anubometer” prototype. A solids flow-meter using a vision system.
The prototype assembly was ready to be displayed at a potential customer’s site for technology assessment within 2 weeks, except the support bracket for the LEAD pattern projector was missing.
The LED pattern projector arrived without its supporting bracket. The vendor offered a lead time of 5-8 weeks and a cost of $800.00 including duties and shipping from Italy. A local metal shop offered 7 days lead time for an aluminum bracket for $500.00. A 3D service provider quoted a lead time of 3 days and a cost of $378.00.
The bracket was 3D printed and delivered in 3 days. The prototype was completely assembled, tested, shipped to the customer and the assessment was completed successfully without delay and with a cost saving.
Later all future enhancements of the prototype were produced using 3D printed laser sintered parts. The latest is the production of the first commercial unit SS and 3D printing was used for the brackets and support of the electronic components in the device.
- The ability to try several ideas by using 3D printing to test for best fit was feasible without depleting the development budget and a fast turnaround.
- The ability to correct errors and optimize the prototype functions
- The overall cost for the development was significantly reduced.