The phrase “time is money” has been around as long as humans have been doing business with one another, and there are few industries where the saying is more apt than manufacturing.
If a project takes longer than expected to complete, it becomes more expensive for everyone involved. It also often leads to the loss of future contracts, so it can be costly in the long term as well as the here and now.
Thankfully for their clients, FasTech have extremely technically experienced operators who know exactly how to maximize efficiency at every stage of the manufacturing process. This is their approach, according to Chief Operating Officer Richie Barker:
Identify Problems faced by Customers
1. “The biggest problem I’m seeing in the supply chain is people being unable to find the material and get parts made in a reasonable lead time,” Richie says. “Everything I hear seems to be can’t get material, can’t get forgings, can’t get castings. Everything is delayed. Something that would normally take three months is taking seven or eight now, and the prices are significantly jumping. Everything is costing more.”
2. “In conventional manufacturing, you need a lot of warehouse space for materials, there’s a lot of time and money involved in handling all of it, and there are additional costs for tool and machine wear and material waste too,” Richie explains. “And the tool wear cost can be excessively high if you’re regularly cutting down large blocks of material into smaller parts.”
3. “If a part has complex geometry and you make it using conventional machining practices, you will need a large block of material which adds a lot of non-value time to form into a shape and produces a lot of costly waste,” Richie explains.
Devise Clever Ways to Solve them
1. “The stock that we use – welding wire – is more readily available because it’s used every day,” Richie says. “Imagine, you have agreed with the client the size of the the material you are going to be using but, due to a common design change increasing the size of the part, it would be impossible to adapt the stock material (particularly if you want to make it bigger), but with the wire, we can be so flexible. We can adjust the geometry of the stock material immediately to the customer’s needs.”
2. “With WAAM, there is a lot less material involved, and it is a more streamlined process,” Richie explains. “You start by sourcing your wire, which requires far less space to store and much shorter leadtimes, and then simply print your part and machine it. It also produces a fraction of the waste and can take as little as a quarter of the time. So when you add all of this together, you are looking at a potential cost saving up to 50%.”
3. “This is where our 3D printing technology really comes into its own,” Richie enthuses. “We can print out the form and then use far less material to make it. It’s more cost-effective, a lot more efficient, and so much better in terms of sustainability.”
Ultimately, everything FasTech does as a company is geared towards improving the efficiency of metal printing and machining processes, and they do this by delivering customer success everyday.