Re: Is it possible to use RP systems to product production parts rela tively cost-effectively???

From: John Kerr <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2004 - 10:28:02 EET

Hi Mike,
IT is very well possible to use RP for rapid Production, only it needs a little bit different manufacturing approach, which is sometimes difficult to think.
However the people who have thought differently have been extremely successful with Rapid Production / Manufacturing, with the use of RP.
Bur remember use of RP for production is possible, feasible & economical, but all this depend upon case to case. Each case need to be studied individually, to come to the conclusion. Take for example Rapid Manufacturing is extremely successful in hearing aids, aligners,small batch production.
Just some guidelines while considering Rapid Manufacturing against conventional manufacturing :
1. Cost of tooling, lead time for tooling, minimim ammortisation quantity for tooling cost.
2. Manpower cost/time involved in conventional mfg
3. lead time available for new products launching
4. Material properties available through RP against thru conventional mfg
If you write to me about your exact application I can guide you for suitable RP technolgy, if at all any suitable.
If you talk about Metal castings for your applications in Bronze & CI, you will have limited choice. But if you can accept Investment casting process, then RP can be of great help with Polysterene masters / Quickcast masters. It can be economical depending upon quantity. Generally a production quantity of 2000 - 10,000 not more, can be suitabel for RP for Rapid Manufacturing. Beyond this quantity depending upon part geometry, the RP is no longer Rapid compared to conventional manufacturing.
You touched the most important points, even if RP is found not so economical at the first stage, we should still pursue it further to do reverse calculations, to come to what should be RP material cost, RP system cost, etc, so that even if it is not economical but at par with conventional mfg.
Direct metal parts for production with SLS, DMLS, SLM etc with so called metal sintering technologies, is not possible due to material structural properties & most importantly due to higher build speeds.
I personally strongly feel that use of RP for Rapid Production is just beginning, & holds a big future, provided right kind of people are thinking right things at right times. I am also sure that once such applications are initially proven, big giant manufacturers will quickly jump into it to propel this industry.
Keep writing.

"Pacholski, Mike [SAA]" <> wrote:
Over the past few months our organization have been looking into
purchasing RP equipment for the use of product development. After some
research we have found that it would not be cost effective for us to
purchase a RP systems for prototyping alone. Our next step is to determine
if we can also use the system to produce production part. This would mean
ideally running the system up to 20 hours a day producing mostly standard
production part and then occasionally setting up the system to create
prototype. Therefore the majority of the work will be production, and the
key factor will be the cost of the parts created.

Our production parts are produced in both cast iron and bronze and range in
size from medium to large. The RP materials would have to be the same or
very close to those material properties. I believe that there are really
only two types of system options would be Direct metal or some type of sand
casting process, however I'm open to any other suggestions on other possible

So this brings us to the final question, can these (or any RP process) be
turned into cost effective production method? Will a large number of parts
and RP systems running time substantially reduce cost (larger material
purchases, long machine run times, ect..)? Should we consider further
investigation into this? Your comments are greatly appreciated!!!



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Received on Wed Jan 07 10:23:04 2004

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