Samples with customers up to four weeks faster with in-house 3D printing
Furniture fittings specialist Armac Martin has announced a rise in sales orders since installing an Stratasys24 Desktop 3D Printer at its facility in Birmingham, UK. “Since the introduction of 3D printing we are turning more of our customers’ ideas into new products and as a consequence we are winning more orders for our factory,” confirms Paul McGrail, Armac Martin Managing Director.
Armac Martin designs and manufactures handles, knobs, bolts, catches, castors, door knockers, hinges and other furniture fittings, many of which are bespoke designs specified by customers. The Stratasys24 Desktop 3D Printer, used to test new designs and produce product samples for customer approval, is enabling Armac Martin to save costs and service customers faster according to Mr. McGrail: “Now we have the Stratasys24 3D Printer working in conjunction with our 3D CAD capability, our Technical Sales Managers are able to get one-off samples to customers without interrupting production on our CNC machines. This means samples are with customers up to four weeks faster than before, sometimes in just a couple of days from the initial discussion. We’re also making savings in tooling which would normally be required to produce the samples in metal.”
Ease and quality of finishing are also key aspects of producing the samples. “We compared a couple of different rapid prototyping technologies and found that Stratasys provided the fine detail and quality of finishing we require for our work. Our products are high-quality decorative items so it’s very important that samples are beautifully finished,” says Mr. McGrail.
Armac Martin purchased the Stratasys24 Desktop 3D Printer through Stratasys UK distributor HK Rapidprototyping. Nigel Bunt, Sales Director at HK Rapidprototyping, adds: “It was clear from the start that prototype realism was vital for Armac Martin. Stratasys 3D printed parts are very easy to finish to a superb standard, which Armac Martin verified in tests with competitive models.”
To achieve realistic prototypes, Armac Martin spray paints the majority of parts produced on the Stratasys24 Desktop 3D Printer. Mr McGrail elaborates, “The majority of the time we paint the 3D printed models in a silver or gold to emulate metal fittings like door handles or knobs and we’ve had some parts nickel-plated. Parts are also often drilled so that they can be fitted in the same way as the final product. Our customers need to be able to visualise the final effect; the realism of samples produced with Stratasys 3D printing makes this possible.”
Mr. McGrail concludes, “From the first approach to HK Rapidprototyping, through subsequent meetings and producing our first parts, the service has been nothing short of excellent. This, combined with the exceptional quality of samples we’re producing, and ease-of-use of the Stratasys desktop 3D printer has made this purchase a great success for us.”