When we say that 3D printing is a very transversal technology, we really have no idea how many (and which) areas can benefit from additive manufacturing and the extraordinary properties of polymers.
Then, however, it happens to talk to Dr. Stefano Stella, Technical Manager of a very, very special company, whose products we may have encountered many times, perhaps without knowing it. Indeed, you might find yourself right now on one of the products of Aresline, a specialized company in the production of office and community seating.
A collaboration was born between Aresline and 3ntr based on the countless advantages that additive manufacturing can bring to the production of seats, especially when the materials involved are ABS, ASA, ELASTO 85, SSU-00, SSU -04. Stefano Stella himself, interviewed by us, uses a 3ntr A4v3 3D printer (a version that has recently been updated to v4).
Aresline meets additive manufacturing: make yourself comfortable!
Enough anticipations, and let’s proceed with order. Let’s find out together which were Aresline’s needs, the goals they set, and how 3D printing has entered their production process, bringing advantages and facilitating the achievement of objectives.
Aresline’s goals, when it met 3ntr
“The goal – Stella explains – was to select a 3D printer with reasonable cost and solid and accurate construction, which could last over time, producing good quality prototypes at affordable costs. Furthermore, the possibility of not being linked to the printer manufacturer for consumables was appreciated, an “open system”, despite the fact that the manufacturer’s materials were almost always used, due to the high quality of the filament they supplied.“
Story of an encounter with additive manufacturing
The world of 3D printing was well known to Dr. Stella, who had been following the subject with interest for years. Furthermore, Aresline already relied on external suppliers for the prototyping of the various pieces under development, so as to be able to carry out all the necessary checks, before making the molds for production. Yet, Aresline was looking for superior quality and a service that could better satisfy their wishes:
«After many evenings of research, on the internet, to find a printer suitable for our needs – says Stella – I came across a dealer who dealt with 3ntr 3D printers. This is how I got to know the company, the products, and … from there the collaboration was born!“.
3D printing helps solve manufacturing problems
Stefano Stella told us about the problems that Aresline had to face, from a production point of view. Given the needs of the company and the sector in which it operates:
- Continuous requests for product customizations;
- Continuous development of new solutions aimed at expanding the possibilities of use of existing products;
- Continuous development of new series of products, always with very short times;
These are the critical issues identified by Stella:
- Need to build injection molds for plastic parts
- Need to make molds for die-casting of aluminum parts, or in Zamak for the mass production of products that would allow the production of pieces of the quality and functionality required at the “first try”
- Need to cope with requests for modifications subsequent to the production of the molds (for adjustments, refinements, improvements). Changes that, in some cases, are completely impossible to implement, due to very high costs or due to an indeterminate expansion of production times
The ultimate need of Aresline (as of other companies that have to face these obstacles, which are common in production processes) was to proceed with “[…] the optimization and refinement of the design of the product components in order to reduce costly changes to production molds”, specifies Stella, who specifies:
“[…] this involved continuous interruptions in the engineering and development phase of the products due to the time required to estimate the parts, place the order, wait for the prototypes to be produced and wait for them to be delivered by courier“.
Hence the choice of finding a better solution, in terms of flexibility, speed, ability to adapt to constantly changing situations. In short: 3D printing of polymers.
Optimized work, from evening to morning
To solve the critical issues and increase the efficiency of production processes – internalizing and making everything much faster and cheaper – Aresline has opted for 3ntr 3D polymer printing technologies.
As Dr. Stella explains:
«[…] the availability of a 3D printer in the house gives the possibility to design a solution in the afternoon, print it overnight and to find it ready the next morning. At that point it is possible to proceed with the checks without interruptions in the development work and allowing to drastically improve the level of functionality of the products. And so it also becomes normal to try two or three alternative solutions, optimizing the one that proves best and refining the design of the final product to the maximum. In this way, the need to intervene with changes to the production molds is reduced to almost zero, which by relying on an external service becomes, as I said before, substantially not feasible.“
Examples of use of 3D printing in Aresline
Today, at Aresline, 3ntr’s A4v3 printers are used full time “for the optimization of project development, as well as for the occasional production of small series of parts for which, given the reduced consumption, it is uneconomical to build dedicated injection molds”. Furthermore, Stella still explains, 3D printing has been used for the production of jigs for machining, gluing and welding of various elements”.
From a component point of view, here is a short list of what polymer 3D printing has made possible:
3D printed snap fit foot
“The need was to make the foot of a bench seat that was sturdy and assembled quickly and without the use of tools; in terms of timing, after the aesthetic definition, the engineering and final tuning took a couple of days, with the printing of three prototypes to optimize the snap coupling system.“.
3D printed closing element for elliptical section tube
“The need was to create this detail in a very short time for a new version of a product, fine-tuning the dimensions in order to obtain the right shape and interference of the piece with the existing pipe, in order to be able to assemble it easily, but at the same time avoiding that it was possible to remove it manually; two days of fine-tuning were needed, with the printing of 4 prototypes to be able to obtain the desired type of coupling.“.
3D printed welding template
“The need was to present samples of a custom solution to a customer, always made in a very short time and with an excellent aesthetic finish. As for the timing, between design and construction of the tool, it took about a day of work.“.
These, of course, are just some examples of what can be possible with a versatile and multifaceted technology such as 3D printing, also thanks to the variety of polymers with which it is possible to work, each of which boasts peculiar technical, mechanical, chemical-physical characteristics.
Three-dimensional prints. Outstanding results.
Thanks to 3ntr’s 3D polymer printers, Aresline has been able to benefit from many advantages, at various points in the complex production chain of office and community seating (such as cinemas, theaters, conference rooms). In particular, Stefano Stella wanted to describe, for us, the following:
“[…] being able to quickly develop custom solutions to be presented to customers, welding, assembly and drilling templates starting from workpieces and to be able to develop the design of components at a much better level than was possible previously, making very rare events, the need for changes in production molds.».
«[…] possibility to drastically improve the level of engineering and development of products and to be able to make a multitude of tools, templates, supports, etc. at home. for production, all in minimal time, at very low costs and with excellent dimensional accuracy of the pieces obtained.“.
Thanks to the collaboration between Aresline and 3ntr, there are indefatigable 3D printers that produce components, at lower costs and at higher speeds, essential for creating excellent seats, destined for the most prestigious offices and public spaces.
And while those printers work, silent and non-stop, we can enjoy a small interlude of tranquility. Comfortably seated, maybe!
One day, this story could be your story. Contact us to discover our professional solutions for 3D printing. With the help of our consultants we will find new solutions for your design and production.
Dai nuova forza alla tua azienda, con le stampanti 3D 3ntr.