Stratasys Ltd., the maker of 3-D printing and additive manufacturing machines, announced that Whale, a leading manufacturer of water and heating systems for mobile applications, has slashed its lead times for making injection molding tools for prototype parts by up to 97 percent, since introducing 3-D printing into its operation.
The company is printing 3-D molds in less than 24 hours, using its Objet350 Connex Nulti-material 3D printer, at a fraction of the cost of producing metal tools.
“Traditionally, our lead times for metal tools were somewhere between four and five weeks and came with significant production costs,” said Jim Sargent, 3-D technical services head at Whale. “As a result, our R&D process was very time-consuming and fundamentally slowed down the launch of new products.” With the Object, the company now designs tools during the day, prints them overnight and tests them the next morning with a range of materials.
The molds are printed using Stratasys’ Digital ABS material, which gives high temperature resistance and toughness.
Stratasys is based in Minneapolis.