Original Date: 08/14/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Rapid Prototyping
Howmedica Osteonics has implemented a Rapid Prototyping System integrated with ProEngineer solid modeling software to enhance the development of new products. This investment provides flexibility to produce durable prototype parts within hours, allows design criteria to be quickly determined, and promotes early client buy-in at the concept stage.
Howmedica Osteonics has implemented a Rapid Prototyping System integrated with solid modeling software to enhance the development of new products. Previous methods of producing design prototypes included machining parts within one to three days, producing soft-metal tooling within three to five days, and outsourcing for stereolithography parts. Howmedica Osteonics invested in a Rapid Prototyping System to obtain flexibility in-house to produce durable prototype parts within hours. The system was implemented so that design criteria could be quickly determined and client buy-in could begin early at the concept stage.
Howmedica Osteonics utilizes ProEngineer to create solid models that can be transferred to a rapid prototyping machine. Solid-model files are transferred as STL files into a Stratasys FDM 2000 machine. The Stratasys machine produces ABS plastic or investment cast wax prototypes within hours. Initially, engineers meet with surgeons and discuss tool and product needs. Sketches are then transferred into ProEngineer as solid models. Files are input to the Stratasys machine and next-day prototypes are shown to the surgeons to further develop form-and-fit advancement.
The primary benefits of the Rapid Prototyping System are early client involvement and buy-in. The approach enables design criteria to be quickly narrowed down and expedited. The product development cycle is also shortened due to a decrease in design iterations. Prototypes are concurrently utilized for marketing purposes. Other applications of the solid-model files involve machining, tool design, inspection drawings, finite element analysis (FEA), product drawings, fixtures, gauges, x-ray templates, inspection overlays, and marketing materials. At Howmedica Osteonics, recent new product development occurred in nine months and product delivery was one month ahead of schedule, thereby generating $1 million per month in sales along with client confidence.
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