Replacing One Aluminum Part with Kevlar® At a Time

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Replacing Aluminum with Kevlar using the MarkForged Mark One.


The MarkForged Mark One allows companies, such as textile house Automatrix, to replace traditional aluminum parts with reinforced Kevlar® components. As this technology becomes more readily accepted in the manufacturing industry, more and more case studies such as this one will emerge explaining how the process works and why the switch to less expensive, more durable machine parts (such as brackets, mounts, and gears) makes plenty of sense … and cents. 

EMBRACING A NEW IDEA: 

Because the initial investment in 3D printing technology can feel cost inhibitive for “strict” production companies, we hypothesize that this type of evolution will start slowly in organizations that already have a penchant for 3D printing and creation. That said, within a year, a reduced dependency on external partners, foreign mechanical parts, and the mercy of a global shipping and supple chain system can easily recuperate any upfront costs associated with a switch.

We get excited when we start to see this type of thinking take shape at companies like Automatrix. Automatrix already had 3D printing technology in house and discovered the latent benefit of printing stronger, usable parts almost by accident. Once they realized there was a need for this type of production, making the decision to upgrade their older 3D printer to a new MarkForged Mark One was easy. Automatrix first replaced their cutting head bracket and cutting head tool mount. The new Kevlar® and Nylon duel-composite parts were stronger and far more equipped to handle full days of cutting and tooling fabrics than aluminum ever could be. Stronger parts means less time fixing broken elements, less time waiting for new pieces, and more time creating sales. 

HOW TO BEGIN THE JOURNEY:

Many companies already recognize the need for better, more efficient ways to maintain their production machines. When considering how to start a company-wide discussion about the value of investing in this 3D technology, we recommend that you start small. Companies that are reticent to take the plunge and invest in a full-scale 3D printing system can work with our team at Redbrick to contract the creation of select reinforced parts using a MarkForged Mark One via our 3D printing services line.

As the initial investment pays off, it will be increasingly easy to socialize your team to the idea – and many benefits – of having an in-house 3D printer. To kick off the conversation, our team can work with you to determine which parts break most frequently, what your break even analysis might look like using parts fabricated with a  Mark One, and how to scale your project for the future. 

Like any new technology, 3D printing may seem foreign now, but it will change the way manufacturers can do business and energize their companies by replacing one aluminum part with Kevlar® at a time.

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  • Dustin Heigl
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