KH Industries is a worldwide supplier of temporary lighting. It is a longtime customer of our machining division, and they also happen to be our neighbor. We went to KH to propose a solution: we wanted to show them how 3D Printing could save them time and money.
In talking to owner Joe Pinker, we found that the company was developing a new wireless lighting system. After developing the controller, the KH product development team had a sketch and a 3D model. The next step was to create a mold, which would cost $15,000 and could take up to three months.
Case Study: Verify Product Design Prior to Investment
Problem: In product development, KH Industries was unsure of a product design. A design error could cost upwards of $15,000 and up to 3 months.
Solution: Staub Additive grew a model controller using the 3D drawing that KH was prepared to use for mold production.
Outcome: KH was able to verify product design, and was able to be 100% confident that they would be able to begin production once their mold was completed.
In the plastic molding world, investing $15,000 and waiting three months before seeing the first piece is common. Although common to KH’s industry, our Additive team recognized a major risk. What if there was an unchecked design error? The wasted time and money would be catastrophic. We saw an opportunity to decrease the risk of an error by bridging the gap between design and production.
We used our Connex3 3D printer to grow a model controller. We made the shell from ABS-like plastic, with flexible rubber-like buttons. KH’s product development team was able to hold this controller in their hand, insert the circuit board and batteries, and test their design before making the huge investment in time and money.
Their design was perfect, and the team and Joe decided that no alterations were necessary. Our service was able to help them verify product design, and feel totally confident that the mold that they would invest in would give them exactly the part that they wanted. On the flip side, each engineer on the team could relate to a situation in which a similar investment was made only to realize that a change was needed once production began.
According to the folks at KH, a $700 investment is well worth the peace of mind that they can have in the gap between design and production. And if that $700 part had corrected a $15,000 mistake, Joe Pinker would have bought us lunch for a week!