3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file, either from customer specifications or designed in house. This is an innovative development that adds value to our manufacturing process.
The benefits of 3D printing include:
- quicker concept to design turnaround allowing reduced time to market
- scalable and accurate model manufacture
- lower labour and material costs
- improved creativity and innovative design
- faster design refinement
- use of sustainable materials and reduced waste
At Kilwell Fibretube we are always on the look out to implement new technology into our manufacturing process.
Recent fight against Covid-19
In March 2020, Kilwell Fibretube was approached by the local DHB. Teaming up to work together, Kilwell Fibretube and Scion (a Crown Research Institute) came up with a solution that would meet the needs of the DHB.
A Prusa face shield design consisting of a 3D printed headband, Perspex shield and an elastic band at the back was agreed upon and a prototype was produced for DHB approval. Another local firm, High Duty Plastics cut the Perspex shields using their laser cutter.
The headbands were 3D printed using industrially compostable bioplastic PLA at both Scion and Kilwell Fibretube, with the team from Kilwell assembling the components into the complete face shields.
The Kilwell team consisted of Denis Albrecht, William London, and Craig Wilson. Kilwell Fibretube CEO Craig Wilson says “this was a great example of innovative thinking while working under exceptional circumstances. It also highlighted the value of having a strong local business network. The contribution of some excellent Rotorua firms working together was what got the job done. On a personal note, I was very impressed with the number of staff that volunteered to help if needed and extremely proud of the team that worked on the project.”
All involved agree that this collaboration was highly successful and demonstrates how ingenuity, science, engineering and manufacturing capability can swiftly provide real solutions that benefit our people and New Zealand.