We recently supplied an iSLA-450 Pro printer to the Kulakov factory, a manufacturing facility that produces low voltage equipment and automation, control and information security systems for marine applications.
Their equipment ensures safe and efficient navigation for all manner of vessels across all the seven seas.
Before 3D printing came about, the factory designed and built encasements and structural parts for their equipment using time-honored (and time-consuming) manual methods of producing and testing prototypes.
Digital manufacturing technology significantly reduces the time required to produce such parts, which makes for cheaper and faster manufacturing.
The Kulakov factory designs and manufactures equipment and control systems for seagoing vessels of all classes.
The factory set out to introduce additive technology to its production facilities in order to solve a number of manufacturing problems.
The first port of call was Top 3D Shop, the largest additive technologies supplier in the area. Our brief was to supply a device to print molds for a vertical injection molding machine.
Their final choice was the industrial Shining iSLA-450 SLA 3D printer.
A major advantage of this printer is its ability to work with almost any photopolymer material on the market.
The customer decided to use Somos PerFORM polymer resin, most notable for its high temperature resistance; printed parts can withstand up to 268 degrees Celsius.
Moving to digital manufacturing allows for significant time and cost savings on short production runs of plastic items over the traditional injection molding process.
This approach allows the factory to produce its injection molds by 3D printing, which is considerably cheaper and faster than producing them on a CNC milling machine.
The molds are used in short production runs, with each one good for around 200 castings without loss of quality.
We also installed all the required ancillary equipment: a washing chamber, a ProJet Finisher oven for baking the printed parts and a UV curing chamber.
With the printer installed and leveled, we calibrated the laser system and build platform, and set the wiper blade and resin detector levels. We then handed all the user manuals over to the engineers.
We ran a test build, washed it in the chamber and baked it in the oven.
The Shining iSLA-450 worked wonderfully with the Somos PerFORM resin, and the resulting mold will be subjected to testing in the vertical injection molding machine.
That’s not a religious symbol in the photo, it’s a calibration test piece that lets us check the printer for proper geometry, tolerances and accuracy along all axes.
An industrial solution at this level starts at $100,000, which is more than justified for small-scale manufacturing and represents a considerable time and cost saving over CNC mold production.
3D printing has already claimed its rightful place in the field of manufacturing. It doesn’t replace, or even try to replace, all manufacturing processes, but it gives indisputable advantages in rapid prototyping and precise production of one-off and short-run components comparable in durability to those made by more traditional methods.
Contact Top 3D Shop and find out how we can help you modernize your production processes.