Expo Preview: How Tri-Tech 3D are leading the manufacturing sector in 3D Printing

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On Wednesday, July 1st 2020 Tri-Tech 3D, one of the UK's leading experts in 3D Printing, will be attending the Made in the Midlands Expo. Today we look at the company and what they're going to bring to the Ricoh Arena on July 1st 2020. 

Founded in 2007 by Managing Director Paul Webber, the company found early success before being acquired by the Stanford Marsh Group in January 2017. Serving several industries of interest to attendees, including the Automotive, Aerospace, and general manufacturing sector, the company offers a complete range of Stratasys Polyjet & FDM 3D printing technologies.

As well as acting as resellers for Desktop Metal systems, the company provides clients with a variety of comprehensive service from advice on initial specification and supply of 3D printing hardware, to onsite installation, staff training and on-going product support.

Since being acquired 4 years ago, the offering of the group has almost doubled, and the team size has tripled. As a result, the company is now able to offer CAD & CAM software solutions, CAD & CAM training and wide-format Printing. In this exciting time for both the company and 3D Printing in general, how could the company assist manufacturers around the country?

But what is 3D Printing and how, and more importantly why, should you invest time and money into the product? Speaking to Made in the Midlands about the benefits of 3D Printing, the Group Director Adrian Painter said; "It - 3D Printing - can aid the need for localised manufacturing and just in time (LEAN processing) to reduce the need to carry high inventory and associated storage costs. Additive Manufacturing also provides the option to make complex parts in one, rather than assembling from multiple components. As an example, tool guides, jigs/fixings and composite layup tools are amongst the added functionality we see customers utilising 3D Printing for."

How Dash-CAE became race-ready with it's new Fortus 900 3D Printer…

Born from F1, Dash-CAE is a prototype vehicle design one-stop-shop. Here, they 3D scan, 3D print and explore advanced/digital manufacturing for composite products. Based in the heart of Oxfordshire, it's secure facilities are ideally placed to serve any design engineering, tooling and any rapid prototyping needs you may have.

Tim Robathan, CEO of Dash-CAE, previously worked in the motorsport industry for over 20 years and when setting up Dash-CAE bought with him a wealth of industry knowledge. In 1999, Tim first dipped his toe in the water with 3D Printing and was the first person to run a 3D printed part on an F1 car. Since then, he has pioneered the technology with his knowledge of the additive manufacturing process going from strength to strength. In the year 2010, Dash-CAE invested in its first Stratasys FDM machine – the Fortus 400. 

Tim Robathan commented saying that, "Having discovered 3D Printing for motorsport development in the late 1990s, I have been a great believer in additive manufacturing reducing costs and as a result bought our first Stratasys in 2010.

This was used for printing a newly developed lost-mandrel process now widely embraced in motorsport circles. Following on from this, Dash-CAE started A-Surface tooling in ULTEM. Before the company knew it, the machine was at full capacity, printing a wide array of parts for its customers. Robathan explained to the Tri-Tech team that within 4-6 weeks their Fortus 400 had pretty much paid for itself!

One year later and the F400 proving to be a true work-horse, it was a natural progression for Dash-CAE to introduce the Fortus 250, thus expanding its capacity for 3D Printing in high-end thermoplastics.

Due to Dash-CAE bonding, smaller F400 prints more often, they decided to invest in a larger platform. After discussions with the Tri-Tech 3D team to discover what would be the best printer for them and recognising that customers were also requesting bigger parts to be printed, faster and in line with their deadlines, it was a perfect fit for the biggest FDM printer of the range – the F900.

Tim Robathan went on to say that, "To mark our 10th anniversary with Stratasys we have purchased the 'big-one', and Tri-Tech 3D have been an excellent partner with the installation and commissioning of our large-scale Stratasys Fortus 900.

Boasting a bed size of nearly 1m3 the Stratasys Fortus 900 was perfect for what Dash-CAE's clients needed. With a wide spectrum of tough FDM 3D printing materials now at its disposal – including the latest carbon-fibre stiffened materials – Dash-CAE is producing real engineering plastic parts built to endure several safety and functional tests."

3D Printing and manufacturing…

The brand has quality, as reinforced by the testimonials. Still, if you're reading this, and planning on attending the Expo, then you'll most likely be interested in the Tri-Tech 3D hardware that enables several manufacturing applications, including:

    • Manufacturing Aids: With manufacturers relying heavily on highly customised manufacturing aids like jigs and fixtures to ensure quality, efficiency and worker safety. 3D printing manufacturing aids streamlines and enhances the production of these tools, resulting in greater productivity and better ergonomics. 
    • Composite Tooling: The use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) for composite tooling has, to the manufacturing sector, demonstrated considerable cost and lead time reductions while providing greater design freedom and more rapid iteration, regardless of part complexity. 3D printing composite tooling provides disruptive value to composite part manufacturers and enables innovation. 
    • Injection Molding: Injection Molding is the most widely used manufacturing process for plastics. Utilising Stratasys PolyJet technology injection molds can be quickly produced to evaluate prototype parts or produce low volumes of end-use parts. 
    • Mold Tooling: With Stratasys thermoplastics and polymers, molds can be quickly produced to evaluate prototype parts or provide low volumes of end-use parts. 3D printing mold tools are especially useful to test the design, fit and function of products before mass production.
    • Casting Patterns: Stratasys FDM & PolyJet technologies and materials produce innovative casting patterns that provide consistency and quality in cast components, both in terms of prototyping and low volume production
    • Forming Tools: Using production-grade Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) thermoplastics, 3D printed developing tools can get you from tool design to production in as little as a week. Automation is a crucial point with tools having the ability to be 3D printed in less than 24 hours with no human interaction.

Yet, beyond merely offering the core services you see above, for many manufacturers, it's what a company offers beyond the hardware that counts, and this is where Tri-Tech 3D shines. Beyond providing a simple store, the company offers a complete package of services from initial specification and supply of 3D printing hardware, software, onsite 3D printer installation, full product support and staff training, with the company being a UK Stratasys certified training centre, more commonly known as the 3D Print Academy - which you can read more about here.

Last year, Tri-Tech 3D wrote - you can read the article here - about Additive Manufacturing, the history of 3D Printing in manufacturing, and why the technology of 3D Printing is not something that can damage the industry, but instead, become another tool in the toolkit of manufacturers around the country.

Tri-Tech 3D will be exhibiting at the Made in the Midlands Expo on July 1st 2020. You'll be able to visit them at stand K24, which is located in the Eastern area of Ricoh Arena. To attend the Expo, you'll need to register for a visitor pass, which you can access here for free.

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