Reduce production line downtime

Tools printed in 3D, using PC-ABS-47 and PA-6/66-HD

Replacement of aluminium parts with printed 3D in durable plastic

‘Using plastic gears printed on a 3D printer significantly reduces the costs of repairing the production line and its downtime.’
Client’s statement

The aluminium gears that were used on a customer’s production line would break during operation (because of overloading) causing machine damage. As a result, the machine would be off the production line from 3 to 6 months. Such a long downtime generated high costs and dissatisfaction among the company’s customers, whose orders could not be met. The company was looking for an alternative to the aluminium parts that were the cause of the problem.

The aluminium parts were replaced by 3D printed elements. At the beginning, gears made of 100% PCABS- 39 thermoplastic were used. It turned out, however, that the wheels had too little resistance and the entire module needed to be replaced too frequently. The solution was better than aluminium wheels, but not perfect.

3D printing engineers proposed an alternative. The gear wheel would be divided into two modules – the centre of the wheel and the rack wheel. The centre would be made from PC-ABS, while the parts subjected to greater overloads (sprockets) would be made from PA-6/66-HD. This solution met the customer’s approval and proved to be excellent in the production process. The wheels last longer on the line, and in the event of a malfunction, only the rack needs to be replaced.
The customer saves money and time – printing the rack in 3D is faster and consumes less material. The customer also no longer suffers from a long downtime.

Comparison of the production line repair time by gear wheel material

ALUMINIUMPC-ABS-47PC-ABS-47 + PA-6/66-HD
PROBLEMSin case of failure, the aluminium breaks into machine modes, destroying several modulesthe wheel made entirely of PC-ABS consumed too fastx
REPAIR TIME1 to 6 months12 h (print time)16 h (print time of sprockets with PA)

Print specification

CENTRESPROCKETS
PRINT TIME14 h16 h
MATERIALPC-ABS-47PA-6/66-HD
LAYER0.2 mm0.2 mm
INFILL70%70%
THE BIGGEST ELEMENT182 mm220 mm
WEIGHT300 g200 g