Czech company VUTS produces and develops specialized single-purpose machines for the automotive, textile and food packaging industries. Founded in the 1950s, the company operates under the motto “We build your machines,” offering a comprehensive set of services to its customers as part of that.
The company’s machine-building process starts with research and development (R&D) before its team designs a machine unique to the customer’s needs. VUTS will then assemble the machine in-house and integrate it into the customer’s site.
VUTS was an early adopter of conventional filament and resin-based 3D printing technologies. For many years, the R&D team relied on additive manufacturing to conveniently produce prototypes, alongside some end-use parts.
Eventually, though, traditional 3D printing technology failed to keep pace with the production speed VUTS needed, so the engineers turned to long-time partner Industrial Technology Systems s.r.o to find an answer. The answer was an NXE400 ultrafast 3D printer from Nexa3D, which created time and capacity for VUTS.
Keeping pace with production
Though useful to an extent, traditional 3D printing technologies could not keep pace with VUTS’ production of machines. Delays while parts were printed caused hold-ups in the expedition of near-complete products, which were forced to sit in the production hall while the team waited for components to finish 3D printing.
Industrial Technology Systems (ITS) s.r.o, was given the task of finding a 3D printer that could reduce lead times. ITS became a Nexa3D reseller after seeing the value of its fast product. When approached by VUTS, Industrial Technology Systems identified the Nexa3D NXE400 as capable of accelerating VUTS’ production to the required speed.
“Nexa3D’s platform has a clear differentiator to other printers — speed,” explained Filip Erdeljac, director of sales and business development at Industrial Technology Systems. “Speed is a common request from our customers, who often struggle to find a printer that meet their demands. The Nexa3D can produce multiple parts in under an hour.”
Ultrafast technology in action
The NXE400 offers a 16-litre build volume, measuring 10.8 in x 6.3 in x 15.7 in (27.5 cm x 16 cm x 40 cm). It uses patented Lubricant Sublayer Photo-Curing (LSPc), which achieves 20x the productivity of SLA and DLP systems. The machine is therefore a tool for true rapid prototyping and design iteration, as well as industrial grade production. The system matches injection molding quality, producing accurate, reliable prints.
“The speed and build volume of the NXE 400 meant VUTS could fully equip an entire machine with a set of disparate 3D printed grippers and fixtures in a few hours, sometimes even less,” added Erdeljac. “This task previously would have required multiple print jobs over several days. In another example, the NXE 400 printed an entire set of four components in a fraction of the time it previously took to print just one part using conventional 3D printing.”
“Equipped with the NXE400, VUTS will save an enormous amount of time, enabling it to jumpstart its research and development,” explained Michele Marchesan, chief growth officer at Nexa3D. “The machine makes it possible to compress the R&D phase by several days, so VUTS can brings products to market more quickly.
“To support the customer’s success, Nexa3D worked with Henkel to develop a specific material,” added Marchesan. “What’s amazing is that the resulting combination of high productivity and affordable material costs combine to match injection molding economics.”
The removal of speed and size constraints has also allowed VUTS to discover new applications for 3D printing. VUTS is now producing larger 3D printed parts than before. In addition, the reduced workload for the team freed up their time to work on other projects, as well as created capacity for machines to produce spare parts for their customers.
VUTS has also leveraged its additive manufacturing expertise to offer a specialized 3D printing service, where customers turn to the company for quickly produced 3D printed parts.