Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

IMI Precision Engineering relied on a manual machining processes that was costly and didn’t provide enough design freedom. Each year, they spent thousands of dollars machining parts while wasting valuable production time with another 3D printer that lacked essential features. They also needed a better way to control the weight of their products and further improve their efficiency.

Solution

Solution

After researching over 130 machined parts and selecting 18 of them for a 3D printing trial, IMI Graduate Engineer Kathryn Jones narrowed down her search for a desktop 3D printer to Ultimaker and Formlabs. The Ultimaker S5 offered the best value and time savings against another brand of 3D printer, saving thousands of dollars in production costs and providing a return on investment in four months.

Cost comparison

Part description

Parts per year

Traditional machining

3D printing on Ultimaker

Part name (material) Spring Key (Tough PLA) Parts 721 Annual costs $3,118 Annual costs $872
Part name (material) Saddle (Nylon and Breakaway) Parts 8 Annual costs $6,296 Annual costs $674
Part name (material) End caps (TPU 95A) Parts 22 Annual costs $486 Annual costs $99

IMI Graduate Engineering Kathryn Jones explains, “The total cost of printing selected parts is $3,653, which saves $17,747 per year. Because of these savings, we were able to see a return on investment for the Ultimaker S5 in just four months.”

Results

Reduced costs

Reduced costs

The IMI Precision Engineering team saved thousands of dollars on low-volume parts and earned back the cost of their Ultimaker S5 quickly.

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Design freedom

Design freedom

With the Ultimaker S5 available in-house, IMI Precision Engineering experienced greater design and redesign freedom for faster production of parts.

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Enhanced efficiency

Enhanced efficiency

The team improved efficiency and saved almost 2,000 hours of production time when designing and 3D printing 18 low-volume parts on the Ultimaker S5.

3D printing concept models
Weight savings

Weight savings

3D printing their parts on the Ultimaker S5 means greater control over the infill densities and wall thickness of their parts for overall weight reduction.

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