Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

Hartfiel Automation needed a solution for prototyping products that they could test and showcase during customer meetings. Outsourcing designs to machine their products would cost them an average of $125 per component, and would take 1 to 2 weeks to complete with an external supplier. As they estimated that it would cost an average of $3,500 to machine their products without prototyping, the Hartfiel Automation team began searching for a cost-efficient way to iterate and test components.

Solution

Solution

In an effort to solve customer pain points and utilize unique return on investment tools, the Hartfiel Automation team discovered 3D printing as an affordable solution to prototyping needs. After adding two Ultimaker 2 Extended+ 3D printers to their workflow, they were able to bring their prototyping costs down from an average of $125 to an average of $4 per component. In addition to saving money, they drastically reduced the time spent creating their component designs from days to mere hours.

Cost comparison

Ultimaker 3D printer

External vendor

Costs $4 per component Costs $125 per component
Time 3 to 5 hours per component Time 1 to 2 weeks per component

Hartfiel Automation Outside Sales Manager Brian Hagar states, “Having a tangible product to touch and place into a system for size inspection helps our customers visualize what the end solution could resemble.”

Results

Tangible prototypes for customer visualization

Tangible prototypes for customer visualization

The Hartfiel Automation team can create functional parts and prototypes on their Ultimaker 2 Extended+ printers, which they then present to customers for hands-on visualization.

3D printing for functional prototypes
Time savings from ease of use during production

Time savings from ease of use during production

By incorporating Ultimaker into their lineup of tools, Hartfiel Automation effectively cut design time from days to mere hours, allowing for greater flexibility in their production needs.

3D printing in product design
Notable cost savings on evolving R&D demands

Notable cost savings on evolving R&D demands

With the ability to iterate designs and correct minor mistakes before final production, Hartfiel Automation can easily keep up with evolving R&D demands while also staying on budget.

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Reliability for seamless prototyping and design

Reliability for seamless prototyping and design

Combined with support from the Ultimaker community, the reliable performance of their Ultimaker 2 Extended+ printers means that the team can count on consistent and quality prints.

About the Ultimaker 2 Extended+

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