Case Study: 3D Printed Production Run of End-Use Electronics Enclosures
Our client for this project, Meramec Instrument Transformer Co., are experts in designing instrument transformers for power transmission and distribution.
One of their largest customers, Siemens, was in a tough situation where they had lost a supplier and needed to quickly find a way to replace them. Within two weeks, our client was able to design a product to replace the one provided by the missing supplier. However, to fulfill Siemens’ order, they needed to get the new parts produced extremely quickly.
Traditional methods used to create the parts--such as injection molding--would take far too long, so our client turned to 3D printing. While the PLA plastic alone would not be as durable as an injection molded part, Siemens agreed that the printed parts could be strengthened with an epoxy coating for the end-use application.
Despite having 3D printers in-house, our client concluded that they wouldn’t be able to produce the required quantity of 110 enclosures in less than a month, which would put them in danger of missing the project deadline. They reached out to us for assistance.
Once we were up to speed on the project requirements, we examined the 3D models provided to us by Meramec. Each enclosure required about 12 hours of print time. This meant that it would take a single printer 55 days to complete, assuming perfect operation. We quickly got to work producing these on four of our machines to ensure that we would meet or exceed the deadline accounting for any issues or other failures that could come up.
As we produced the parts, we shipped the pieces to Meramec in multiple batches so that they could begin assembling and applying the epoxy as we completed the order. We completed the full order days ahead of schedule, ensuring that Meramec and Siemens were able to successfully deploy the product on time.