The Southern Hemisphere’s largest independent metal 3D printing service, New Zealand-based RAM3D, has partnered with Renishaw to take its capabilities into the realms of high-volume production.
A spin out from a national research organisation, RAM3D provides an end-to-end 3D printing service, spanning design, prototyping and ultimately full-scale production.
Having invested in six Renishaw additive manufacturing systems, RAM3D’s intentions are to invest in more Renishaw machines to its Tauranga headquarters in the future.
And with good reason – having first worked with Renishaw in 2014 at a time that the market was gearing up for a shift from prototyping, to prototyping and full production, its first purchase from the UK 3D Printing experts proved vital
“In our first couple of years, we had to learn very fast… we were quick to understand the real impact of operating costs and the need for a more flexible manufacturing platform,” said RAM3D CEO Warwick Downing.
“The most important things to us was assuring production process integrity, high-quality and reliability, and ensuring cost efficiency and effectiveness.”
In the time since purchasing their first Renishaw 3D printer, RAM3D has grown its additive manufacturing business from a prototyping service, to being able to offer a fully-fledged volume production service that serves customers globally as well as its Australasian home territory.
These include a 3D printed road bike; a 4-stroke engine for a UAV; custom climbing equipment for arborists; a 3D printed titanium knife designed for an Americas Cup Yacht team, and a lightweight shooting bipod for customer Backlanz.
“In a way, RAM3D’s origins and success reflect the New Zealand culture: A culture where people aren’t afraid to try new things and try different approaches in order to overcome difficult challenges,” says Downing.
Across its Renishaw AM machines the company prints metal parts in a complete range of high-quality metal powders, including stainless steel 15-5ph, stainless steel 316, inconel 718 and titanium 64, and at the time of writing is also looking to add Maraging tool steel to its product portfolio.
Speaking about his future outlook on metal 3D printing, Downing said: “Globally speaking, I think the metal 3D printing sector is at a bit of a tipping point right now, and it’s certainly only going to grow in importance and influence. It is no longer a ‘new technology’, it’s here and now.
“More and more innovative businesses are coming to realise that even for the most mature of product types, metal additive manufacturing provides an opportunity to inject new life, by overcoming the design constraints of other manufacturing processes.”