3ntr’s experience boosts Nimax’s productivity: the A2V4 3D printer purchased by the Bologna-based company enabled it to rapidly prototype some crucial elements for an extremely fast labeling machine.
Have you ever looked inside a reel of fabric? You would find that there, too, are messages and codes that someone had to place in seemingly unreachable places, in the shortest possible time. This is one of the tasks of Nimax, a company founded more than 50 years ago in Bologna, Italy, specializing in marking, labeling, coding, inspection and control systems.
In 2020, Nimax chose to probe the opportunities of 3D printing together with 3ntr, relying on our 3D printers to make a number of crucial elements useful to support extremely precise operations. As well as to provide for minor production emergencies whenever possible.
The problem to be solved
“A company in the textile industry,” explains A. Caselli, R&D and Production Manager at Nimax – required a tool to label the core of large spools of nonwoven fabric. The customer needed a tool that could quickly place up to 4 labels within a single work cycle”.
The initial design to build the labeling machine required working on elements with particularly complex geometry, which if they had been produced with traditional systems, would have required significant investments in resources and time. Thanks to our A2V4 3D printer, however, Nimax succeeded in prototyping the elements, combining time and cost, and also gained new opportunities in terms of design and production.
Time and geometry
It was crucial for Nimax to make several functional models in a very tight timeframe and test them under real working conditions, while just as quickly receiving feedback to improve the design and thus define the entire project with increasing precision.
Time was also the key element in the process in which Nimax had to succeed in solving an extremely peculiar need for its customer: to label the inside of large reels quickly, smoothly and extremely accurately. Specifically, the need expressed was for a quick labeling machine that was capable of placing up to 4 labels in a single work cycle, in a matter of seconds.
In addition to the time factor, geometric specifications related to the diameters of the reels, their depth, and, of course, the size of the labels to be applied, had a strong impact in the realization of the labeling machine.
By taking advantage of Nimax’s experience and know-how in marking and labeling on the one hand, and the potential of 3ntr’s additive technology on the other, it was possible to conceive, design and build a first semi-industrial prototype of the labeling machine in just 6 months.
A prototype with definitive traits, moreover, as the machine was then installed and used.
The Diamond Printing Plan
3ntr’s industrial 3D printing solutions came into play after extensive research that highlighted their capabilities and potential. Using additive technology, the most distinctive features of the entire project were realized, and around them the rest of the system was created, designed and produced to Nimax’s specific customer needs.
“I was impressed by the Diamond printing table, a real plus compared to the competition,” Caselli says in particular, “because it combines ease of use with the triple extruder, which offers the possibility of co-molding with different materials. We greatly appreciated the possibility of also using polymers with excellent characteristics, thanks to the hot chamber. Added to this is the robustness of the machine and the low operating and maintenance costs.“
Speed, versatility, and simple functionality
“3ntr’s 3D printer was reliable in terms of accuracy, production and repeatability. It is also very easy to use, also thanks to SSI, the software given by 3ntr, which is really intuitive,” Caselli continues, “and the service partner Bologna3D proved to be timely and accurate“.
This use of additive technology in packaging, wrapping, packaging and labeling has shown how, starting from a customer’s specific need, it is possible to find the right technology to significantly improve performance on their production: “Deepening our knowledge of materials and additive technology,” Caselli concludes, “will allow us, in the future, to replace the production of some parts currently made with traditional technology. This will result in decreased costs and lead times, with even more customer satisfaction.“
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