FloSonix: How Additive Manufacturing via Origin 3D Printer Cut Costs
FloSonix approached Enventys Partners with the need to create a new solution for treating head lice. From the start, it was clear that any design would need to be suited for lower volume/on-demand production. Knowing this, Enventys Partners identified additive manufacturing as a strong potential alternative to injection molding. Tooling alone would have been too expensive as would the large minimum orders required for molding. By identifying the potential for additive manufacturing early, Enventys Partners was able to leverage the technology throughout the entire design of the device.
Even though Enventys Partners identified the potential for additive manufacturing early on, there were a number of challenges in its execution. Many existing 3D printers generally produce parts with brittle materials achieving poor surface quality and low heat resistance. Additionally, they also require lengthy print and post-processing times. While some materials and process combinations can address some of these challenges, few are able to address the particular requirements of FloSonix, which include toughness, surface finish, heat resistance and color.
By identifying the potential for additive manufacturing early, Enventys Partners was able to fully leverage the technology throughout the entire design of the FloSonix device.
Enventys Partners initially started with existing technologies that matched temperature, mechanical and color requirements for the FloSonix device. We quickly found that the surface quality was poor and that it was impractical to manufacture in-house as well as too expensive to outsource. While designing the product to fit the client’s needs, we actively searched for the right machine and material combination to meet the requirements of the program.
We spoke with a number of manufacturers about the project’s needs and settled on the Origin One Printer. By using the same machine to prototype and manufacture the parts, Enventys Partners and FloSonix were confident that the finished product would be of the same quality and function as the approved prototyped parts.
Why the Origin One Printer?
From the beginning, Origin, now Stratasys, was very interested in partnering with us. First, their machines offer the high throughput and resolution we required. Additionally, their open materials network helped us identify and evaluate a material manufacturer with a product that matched all of our requirements except for color. Due to the nature of the open materials network, we were able to work directly with the material manufacturer who in turn was able to formulate a version in our required color. Our efforts helped bring this material to market for future use.
A single Origin One 3D printer was able to fulfill all of the product development and manufacturing needs. Origin’s technology allowed for the fine-tuning of dimensional accuracies to perfect the assembly of every component. In some cases, critical component fits were tuned by as little as 0.05mm.
At every iteration, minute changes were achievable. In later stages of development, we identified simple design improvements that would make the assembly of the final product more efficient and enhance the end-user experience. The power of additive manufacturing allowed us to make these tiny, yet important, changes late in the process without additional costs or lead time.
At every phase from concept through final production, the FloSonix team provided feedback to drive iterative changes to the product design. Origin technology allowed us to move from prototype to production seamlessly while preserving the ability to make additional design changes. Finished products printed on the Origin One 3D printer would have been impossible to mold using traditional injection molding. However, once completed, the final product looked and performed as if it was produced via traditional manufacturing methods, but at a fraction of the cost. The finished results couldn’t have been achieved without our innovative product development process and the technology provided by Origin. The team with Flosonix was ultimately impressed with the final product.