Stratasys recently explained an exciting new partnership they’ve developed with Dutch chocolate maker Chocolate Factory. (Also Dutch) “3D service bureau, Visual First, is using [Stratasys] FDM Nylon 12CF carbon-filled thermoplastic to replace metal machine parts” for The Chocolate Factory.
The Chocolate Factory, which is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, “runs a network of packaging machines, with the company’s daily throughput relying on the smooth operation of a simple, yet crucial, hook-shaped metal part, which lifts wrapped bars onto a conveyor belt. A problem occurs when the part malfunctions – typically with such regularity it necessitates replacement three times a month.” Delivery of these replacements, in the past, have often taken a month. Obviously, this was simply not good enough.
Enter Stratasys and Visual First.
As Carl van de Rijzen, Visual First’s Business Owner, explains, “with Stratasys additive manufacturing, we can produce customized replacement parts on-demand, capable of performing just as effectively as the metal machine parts. We can 3D print and deliver production parts to The Chocolate Factory in under a week, which is vital to ensuring manufacturing line continuity.”
Visual First took advantage of Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer and Stratasys’ high-performance FDM Nylon 12CF composite material for this project. Van de Rijzen expounds: “The Chocolate Factory is…enjoying significant economic benefits…with the team reporting 60% cost reduction on the part.”
“Following the success of the 3D printed replacement part, The Chocolate Factory is now turning to Visual First to solve other design challenges – most notably, to develop a prototype casting mold to test acceptance of its products.”
Nadav Sella, Stratasys’ Head of Emerging Solutions Business Unit concludes, “we’re witnessing growing demand for 3D printed production parts and replacement parts for industrial machinery, especially for packaging machines. These machines require a high-level of customization due to the large variety of products, which are packaged. In many cases, the use of additive manufacturing can not only save time and cost during the manufacture of such machinery, it can also make them more efficient by reducing weight, simplifying the design, and increasing functionality.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Stratasys