…add a three-dimensional sample and the concept becomes clear. –Jeff Brandt, President
Libertyville, IL (PRWEB) January 10, 2014
The buzz is abound in manufacturing industries surrounding 3D printing and rapid prototyping. Numerous news articles are covering exciting updates with this technology. But what does this mean for your company and how can it help with your bottom line? Is it a viable tool, or just another techno-trend that will go away once the dust settles?
Known for its innovation in the identification, William Frick & Company sees the benefits of using a 3D printer to help its customers. Frick provides labels, tags and other specialty identification products. Customers look to its Product Development team to develop an idea, help solve a problem, or produce an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) part.
“Because we serve customers in a variety of markets, each product we supply is unique and designed for a very specific application,” says Jeff Brandt, President of William Frick & Company. “Using a 3D printer is a quick, cost-effective way to respond to our customers’ needs.”
Most prototypes created at Frick are made of a durable ABS thermoplastic. The 3D printer melts the plastic and expels it, one tiny line at a time, to create a three-dimensional product that functions and feels like a finished product. Besides simple shapes, the 3D printer can create impressive and complex designs such as the one-piece closed Mobius (infinity) loop.
“It’s hard for some people to look at a flat, 2D image and imagine how it will look or be used in an application. But add a three-dimensional sample and the concept becomes clear. There is something to hold and manipulate. The 3D printer is a value-added service helping customers make more thoughtful and improved decisions.”
John Poplawski, Product Development Manager at Frick says that, “The 3D printer has become a natural extension of CAD drawings. In the past, when customers came to us with a concept, we’d make a CAD drawing then send it out to be molded, extruded or machined, which would take weeks to produce and cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. If there were design changes, we’d send out for another sample, costing more time and money.”
“Now, most designs created in CAD can be reviewed using the 3D printer, including complex shapes with small, intricate details. The process takes hours, not weeks—and at significantly lower costs. It’s a very exciting time for product development,” added Poplawski.
Two Technologies Converge: 3D Printing Meets RFID Manufacturing
Another great application for the 3D printer is in the emergent field of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID tags are microchips with an antenna that store and transmit information via radio waves. RFID tags are commonly used for asset identification and tracking.
Frick has found that the 3D printer offers great benefits to its customers seeking an RFID solution. “Some of the more complex uses for RFID applications require tags with custom housing that maximizes mounting and performance options,” says Brandt. “These applications may require tags to be hermetically sealed for use in a harsh environment, for example.”
“Using the 3D printer really enhances the brainstorming process with customers. We can quickly produce an idea, evaluate it and see if it’s feasible.”
The ABS plastic produces very sturdy prototypes that customers take back to their sites, test in a real-world environment, and provide feedback. It’s a great way to execute ideas, ensure design optimization while keeping prototyping costs low.
3D printers are fast becoming a very important tool in product development. Plus, combining a 3D design with other emerging technologies such as RFID, companies can quickly launch high-quality product marking solutions at minimal costs.
Frick continually looks to offer value-added services to the process of specking, designing, and supplying well-designed custom marking products. For more information on innovative solutions for custom labels and RFID tags, please contact William Frick & Company. With 35+ years of experience, Frick truly simplifies the complicated process of designing, ordering, and delivering custom products.