Production of self cleaning filters using Quad 3D printer.
We mostly manufacture our self cleaning filter pumps, strainers and screens in stainless steel, however a number of smaller automatic filter products and filters that need good chemical resistance are better produced in plastic. The problem is that as our filters are niche specialist items numbers per year are small.
About a year ago we bought an Reprap Ormerod 3D printer from RS. This has been both an eye opener to what it can do and also great frustration. This printer is a low cost model aimed at the hobby market and as such the build quality is very low. However over the months, both struggling with keeping the printer going and learning the ‘ART’ of 3D printing- and it is an art as much as a science!!- has convinced me of the possibilities of printing some of our parts and perhaps even whole new products.
We have just sent off our first 3D printed product to a customer. This is a manifold to allow two of our existing small self cleaning filters to be connected together. This would be very difficult and expensive to produce by machining or fabrication, but able to be printed in one piece for about £5.00 as opposed to probably £70-80.00 by other methods.
Having looked around the 3D printer market for a more industrial model and found that we would need to pay upwards of £20,000 for anything near what we need and even then not really what I had in mind, so I have decided to build our own.
We are building one that will print 4 identical products at once. This will speed up production by a factor of 4 compared with even a £20,000.00 off the shelf unit.
Anyway we are just starting to commission it so I’ll keep you posted on the first production printed self cleaning filter products.