Prototyping Solutions Adds PostProcess TechnologiesDecember 23, 2017
Case StudyPiper AircraftOctober 4, 2019
In his 14 years with Hayward Industries, Scott Schram, manufacturing engineering manager, has seen tremendous changes in manufacturing and industrial design. Scott had worked in manufacturing at a custom injection molder for more than a decade prior to joining Hayward Industries, and he was drawn to the opportunity to work for an OEM, especially one as innovative and progressive as Hayward.
Everything but the Swimming Pool
Hayward Industries makes everything for swimming pools except for the swimming pool, including pumps, filters, heaters, lighting, and water features. They also manufacture products for sanitation, automation, and cleaning. With so many types of products in the pipeline, they are always looking for ways to improve their design, production and quality control.
Several years ago, Hayward Industries started outsourcing part of their prototyping process by sending some designs to a 3rd party 3d printing shop. They watched the budget closely, and when the numbers made sense, they decided to make an investment in their own 3d printer. They had several goals for this purchase.
- Save money by printing their own prototypes
- Decrease the time it takes to turn a design into a prototype
- Promote innovation
With 5 years using their 3d printer, Hayward Industries has been surprised by the results relative to their original goals. Let’s take a look at their real-world usage compared to what they originally hoped to achieve.
3D Printing Results
Hayward Industries has significantly decreased its cost for each individual prototype, but they haven’t decreased their overall 3D printing budget. The interesting thing is that they don’t consider this a bad thing. More on this when we look at their results in the innovation section.
Prototypes that used to take weeks now take days if not hours. This has been tremendously helpful in getting products to market on time and on budget.
Scott knew that they would have interesting ideas for making the most of their 3d printers, but he didn’t anticipate how much these innovations would transform their design and manufacturing processes. The list of innovations is remarkable, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
- More prototypes– They used to prototype the most likely design solutions for a product. Now they can prototype several likely candidates leading to unexpected design insights and enhancements.
- Faster prototypes– The increase in speed has allowed them to produce more generations of prototypes for a product in addition to printing more design candidates at each stage of the process.
- Jigs and Fixtures– Hayward Pools prints jigs and fixtures that they used to fabricate out of steel or aluminum. Now the engineers can design it and print it.
- Prototype Molds– Printing molds for elastomer prototypes has been revolutionary. They can print molds and mold parts out of the intended materials.
- End of Arm Tooling– Hayward used aluminum end of arm tools on their robotics for years, but they discovered that 3d printed end of arm tools can be designed to break in certain circumstances so that they don’t damage molds. This has improved production uptime and decreased manufacturing costs.
- Quality Control– Hayward prints CMM fixtures and Go-NoGo fixtures for QC checks.
A 3D Printing Investment That Pays Off
Scott says that ROI on their original investment is difficult to measure because they use the 3d printer in so many unexpected ways, and the value of improved quality and innovation is difficult to quantify. Although it is difficult to put an exact dollar amount on their ROI, the improvements in their design and production processes led Hayward Industries to make additional investments in 3d printing rather than just putting cash in the bank. They are excited to see how emerging material technologies evolve in the coming years.