Lonati Group chooses 3D printing, achieving a reduction in average product development costs of 50%.
Integrate the 3D printer into your production process
Lonati Group has started a real pilot process for the production of parts (intended as “final” for its machines) using 3D printing and has chosen as solution ProX 6100 SLS of 3D Systems (3D powder printing) and Figure 4 (3D resin printing ultra fast and convenient).
Founded in Brescia in 1946, Lonati Group has been a world leader in the textile machinery sector for over 70 years. With over 3,000 employees and a billion euro turnover, in an area of 80,000 square meters, Lonati produces 8,000 machines per year.
The company has chosen the 3D Systems printer for its material properties (in some cases the mechanical resistance has proved to be far superior to competing machines in the same category), for its TCO (in a single case it has achieved a cost reduction of 94%) and, last but not least, for its certified and timely after-sales service.
The use of 3D printing
Lonati purchased the printer to produce durable prototypes and production parts in a wide range of industrial grade nylon materials such as DuraForm ProX AF+.
So, as early as 2018, the company began the process of selecting the first 3D printer that could meet their needs. A process of comparison of technologies, printing of parts with the main industrial 3D printers on the market, visit to trade fairs. A detailed technical course lasting one year. The final choice was 3D Systems’ SLS technology, mainly due to the technical characteristics of the materials.
The challenge for Lonati Group, as for many Italian excellences, is to aim for high quality and reliability of the pieces/machine produced. The Asian competition is not really pressing and only with quality and reliability you can stay in the market with certain shares of the same. The challenge started by the technical team of Lonati Group is to integrate the 3D printer in the production process.
In the selection process (in the photo the comparison with a competitor) the key factors were the repeatability of the pieces obtained (with precision in the three Cartesian axes), the mechanical characteristics of the pieces and the overall TCO (piece cost).
The internal quality control department of Lonati Group (with professional measuring machines), has allowed to have the results on the demo pieces produced, in a short time. The SLS technology of 3D Systems, with the new ProX 6100, was the most compatible with these very strict requirements.
After purchasing the ProX 6100, Lonati began to use the printer for any type of requirement in the production environment: casings, various types of supports, masks and equipment and numerous new projects designed specifically for the additive.
In the box you can see the piece printed with the traditional method (on the left), the CAD drawing that highlights in red its location in the assembled machine and finally the 3D printed piece that has gone to replace in production.
With the software integrated in the 3D printer (3D Sprint, in the machine package) everything is simple and intuitive. The image shows how 520 parts (of the described component) can be easily produced in a single job. The software details measures and costs in detail (box on the right).
In addition to the powder printer, Lonati Spa has also equipped itself with an ultra-fast printer, Figure 4.
It is a 3D DLP printer for functional prototyping and low volume production applications. The printer allows iteration of functional prototyping on the same day and production of reduced volumes at speeds of up to 100 mm per hour, with Six Sigma repeatability.
3D Systems has also developed a portfolio of materials to allow manufacturers to iterate projects or produce final parts without having a minimum number of orders as a prerequisite for production start-up. Lonati Group is experimenting with excellent results.
What are the main benefits of implementing the 3D Systems solution?
Lonati’s experience in using the ProX 6100 printer highlights:
- Flexibility in the production of some key components that have been outsourced
- Cost savings. In one case, there was a total saving (including machine depreciation) of 94%. The average is 50% but there are components that reach these high percentages
- Get new ideas and start with a Design for Additive course to improve complex products.
What is the advantage of a 3D Systems solution over the competition?
- A wide range of high-performance materials with unrivalled mechanical strength coefficients.
- Repeatability of parts, with excellent tolerances in all three axes analysed
- Improved TCO (part cost) with clarity on costs of materials, machine management, software (integrated and in the machine package) and technical support
The customer’s testimony
“We are extremely satisfied with the technical support that 3D Systems, together with the local 3DZ dealer, provides us with. Always on time, with the ability to solve small problems in the short term. Starting with a single component for production, we are now using the ProX 6100 for many other internal projects. It’s a surprise and a daily learning experience. This technology will greatly accelerate research and development,” said the company’s designer, Faini Michele.
“Because of the high level of pneumatics in our tool, we were looking for materials with very high mechanical properties. After many tests (performed with the professional measuring instrument we have in the company) the 3D Systems materials were the best on the market. We are extremely satisfied,” added the company’s designer, Gavazzi Marco.
The testimony of 3DZ
“Lonati is a key customer for 3DZ,” added Ivan Zannol Country Manager 3DZ Italy. “It is motivating for me to see the progress that the Lonati research and development team is making on a weekly basis. Having a satisfied customer using the Prox 6100 for new internal projects, using this production technology alongside other technologies is the best reward for me”.
The testimony of 3D Systems
“I am proud to add Lonati Group to the list of Italian customers who also use SLS ProX 6100 for the production of finished parts. Lonati is a technological leader in a very demanding sector. This is proof that the company with high quality standards can now look to 3D printing technology with more confidence than ever before”. Matteo Marcellini, Channel Manager 3D Systems..