This week's Product Story showcases the Toro Company and the solution they used for rapidly increasing 3D print volume while reducing existing bottlenecks.
The Toro Company first implemented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) in 2012 to prototype smaller product components in-house. This soon turned into a full additive manufacturing shop with six 3D printers on site so they could better serve their customers and expand their additive potential. However, with the rapidly increasing print volume there were post-processing bottlenecks that arose, so Toro turned to the PostProcess BASE support removal solution to more efficiently match throughput to demand.
Toro found there was a cost-effective growth opportunity in being able to print larger parts in pieces, and later fuse them together, thereby developing a more diverse range of build sizes and parts for product groups. As the Toro Company accelerated their printing process, it became clear that growth would be stunted by certain FDM support removal bottlenecks and thereby cause subsequent throughput limitations. At their most crippling, these post-printing bottlenecks would manifest in support removal times that were twice the length of the build times.
Additionally, the support removal process was largely hands-on. This meant that technicians were falling behind on part production, thereby making these demands not only time consuming, but costly. With labor accounting for 25% of a part’s total cost, Toro decided they needed a change in their post-printing process.
Precision and Efficiency for Enabling Scalability
In 2019, Toro brought advanced precision and efficiency to its additive workflow with the PostProcess BASE support removal solution. This system uses a proprietary Volumetric Velocity Dispersion (VVD) technology which utilizes a three-pronged approach to support removal with software, hardware and chemistry. With this unique combination, the BASE ensures improved levels of consistency from part to part with fewer warped or damaged parts.
Now, only about two hours a week are expended to simply loading, unloading, and rinsing parts from the BASE system, whereas previously, the process was extremely labor intensive. The reduction of resources for Toro averaged between an 89% decrease in post-print process times and over a 90% decrease in operator labor. Toro also has the added benefit of increased efficiency with software that controls temperature, pressure, agitation, and duration so that the post-printing process is almost as simple as pressing play and walking away.
“We went from spending two times the build time to clean parts to spending only 4% of the build time on average.” - Rob McArdell, Product Development Supervisor of Engineering.
Watch the video below to see a full Q&A with the Toro team about their experience:
Thanks to the breakthrough productivity levels that the BASE achieved; Toro has been able to rapidly manufacture high-quality pieces in a shorter amount of time than ever before. These innovations also opened new professional opportunities up for Toro as they work to blaze new trails in the additive manufacturing world.
To learn more about the specific process used in the BASE and other automated solutions, watch our on-demand webinar “Overcoming FDM Support Removal Bottlenecks"