Eureka S.r.l. is a company that produces a wide range of aluminum and zamak alloy handles and accessories for the high-volume furniture industry.
For Eureka, the collaborative relationship with the customer is key: in fact, they have a dedicated in-house prototyping department that is responsible for making prototypes of their products for the customer’s final review before final production.
To handle production volumes and the demand for new prototypes, Eureka equipped itself internally with several facilities to perform CNC machining. But the steps required to start production of a new component were numerous.
Because of the multiple steps required, the process would come to take approximately ten working days with an average prototype cost of 150 euros, taking into account operator hours, raw material costs, and the 70 percent scrap of starting material due to subtractive manufacturing.
In the past, we would start with a call from the customer reporting the specific requirements needed of the new prototype.
Then all the information was passed to the designer who made the initial prototype. This was handed over to the CAM designer who was responsible for preparing the necessary machine path for the CNC systems.
Finally, the miller was in charge of machining the aluminum block until we had the rough prototype that had to be polished, honed, and painted.
Thus, the need was to drastically reduce the time needed to make the prototypes but also the equipment dedicated for internal use in the production stages.
The introduction of 3D printing was the turning point.
The relationship with 3DZ began after a meeting at a trade show; during this occasion, a technical worker from Eureka had the opportunity to see firsthand the 3D printers in 3DZ’s product portfolio and decided to seek technical advice on the printers’ capabilities.
3DZ played a key role in analyzing the different technologies on the 3D printing market, enabling Eureka to make an informed choice about the differences between the different printers and the various materials available in order to best meet their requirements for aesthetic quality and part strength.
The activity was taken to the next step by including the purchasing manager, Giovanni Covre, who was able to make a comparison at the economic level compared to the previous situation.
The choice fell on Markforged wire technology because of the range of technical filaments and the possibility of internally reinforcing the parts with continuous fibers. The Mark Two‘s characteristics make it perfectly capable of not only producing prototypes with great aesthetic quality and complex shapes such as undercuts that are difficult to make with conventional CNC machines, but also of producing robust and reliable mechanical equipment. The dedicated mechanical filaments offered by Markforged are mechanically and chemically robust to respond to the oils and stresses present in classical machining.
In the case of Eureka, equipment made by additive manufacturing has already been used on machining centers for more than 300 thousand production runs.
The benefits gained from the introduction of 3D printing
- Thanks to additive manufacturing, processing time has been reduced from 10 days to just 2 working days.
- Eureka benefited from a 93 percent reduction in prototype costs from 150 euros to 10 euros.
- Today Eureka avoids the need to engage 3 departments for part processing. The designer no longer has to use other people before printing the part. The printer makes the parts independently.
- Eureka therefore decided to further speed up the work entrusted to its operators by making a whole series of templates, jigs and poses to make the shapes of their handles, avoiding the need to obtain these tools from outside.
- Composite printing offers the possibility of making plastic fixtures and gripping systems that do not abrade the final part.
The support of 3DZ
Giovanni Covre says, “The relationship that has been established with 3DZ goes beyond a simple customer-supplier relationship since the relevant 3DZ figures continue to support us in our internal evolution, advising internal designers on new needs that emerge having learned how to develop components additively.”
Eureka’s internal staff has also recently undergone advanced training courses on composite 3D printing.
Notably, according to Covre: “The 3DZ team follows up with the customer even after they sell the printer, and this is a great strength-they don’t just sell the printer but the relationship continues and strengthens over time.“
3DZ, an experienced partner
At 3DZ, we are expert distributors of 3D printing and scanning from the best brands on the market. We help companies choose the right technology and materials for their specific needs.
Contact us– our 3D printing and scanning experts are here to help.