Thanks to additive manufacturing, developing new products can be faster and more accurate than ever before. For companies like Rawlplug, with over 100 years on the market, finding new ways to make their R&D projects faster, cheaper, and more efficient was always a goal. Thanks to Lisa PRO, SLS 3D printer from Sinterit is now possible.
Rawlplug, the company known for developing the world’s first wall plug is using SLS 3D printing technology from Sinterit to speed up the process of designing and developing new products.
Rawlplug, founded in 1887, was the first company to develop and patent the wall plug, originally used to fix electrical wall fittings in the British Museum. Now, over a hundred years later, the company remains one of the most well-known manufacturer of mounts, joints, power tools, and other implements. Its products have been used in the construction of major buildings across the world, such as Burj Khalifa, Wembley Stadium, and even off-planet; NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover has parts connected with Rawlplug products.
Over the course of a century, prototyping methods change a lot.
“I can confidently say that nowadays 3D printing is one of the most important avenues for prototyping. Due to the fact that we are able to check certain solutions on a print out, we need to create much fewer prototype forms. It saves a considerable amount of time, both for us and the tooling workshop,” says Dominika Zarowna, Designer Engineer at Rawlplug.
Prototyping with an SLS 3D printer
The Design Engineering team at Rawlplug is focused on designing new products and further enhancing existing ones. Those designs are made to be later manufactured via injection molding at a large scale. The company has its own tooling workshop, which has been equipped with a Lisa PRO SLS printer for some time. A lot of companies, just like Rawlplug, are trying to become more lean and agile to compete in a demanding market. A few years ago the only solution to replace the injection molding in a prototyping process was to outsource the prototype 3D printing to external vendors. Due to the unattainable price of some advanced, industrial-grade SLS 3D printers which works the best for such applications, the Lisa PRO opened the new chapter.
“When I first came on board as a new hire, we used to outsource the printing to third parties,” adds Zarowna. “This often took a considerable amount of time. What we needed was a 3D printer of our own, in order to reduce the waiting times to a minimum. At the same time, we were on the lookout for new technologies. Given the price and quality requirements, Lisa PRO was the only real choice on the market.”
Purchasing such technologically advanced devices that cost one-tenth of what was previously available with industrial SLS printers, even in the case of the Lisa PRO, needs good discernment and an informed decision.
“Our main concern is quality, which is why prior to finalizing the purchase, we had put together a comprehensive model to test the different capabilities of the printer, its accuracy, as well as the printing of nested elements, which would not have been possible in other technologies. We ended up being happy with the results, in turn, we made the decision to choose Lisa PRO,” says Zarowna. Objects designed by Rawlplug are not big. About 95 percent of them fit Lisa PRO’s build volume. Bigger parts are still outsourced but now it happens once or twice a year. Some companies are fascinated by how fast 3D printers can operate. To be frank, Lisa PRO is not the fastest 3D printer.
“Lisa PRO is not quite the quickest 3D printer, but for us, that is not a big concern, because we reduced the waiting time for prints from two weeks to two days. We have additionally worked out a system, where we start printing on a Friday afternoon and the prints are already waiting for us on Monday when we come to work,” Zarowna adds. The widest material portfolio for R&D projects
Sinterit now offers the widest range of materials available for compact SLS 3D printers. It is crucial for R&D teams, as they’re usually working on different products with diverse functionality. The PP powder, launched in April 2021, is a game-changer for companies like Rawlplug as final products are most often made from this material. This diversity and the accessibility of Sinterit’s SLS 3D printing solution make it one of the most desired professional additive manufacturing products in 2021.
The News Highlights
- Rawlplug is speeding up R&D projects with the Sinterit Lisa Pro.
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