Rutland Plastics currently specialises in small batch injection moulding, using large injection moulding machines with capacities up to 1,700 tonnes, incorporating fully integrated robotic automation to enhance productivity.
Over the previous year, Rutland Plastics allocated more than £1 million to business enhancement initiatives, including the upgrade of their 3D printing technology.
Rutland Plastics sought to upgrade their 3D printing capabilities with a focus on certain key attributes, including: enhanced productivity, deeper customer involvement, a competitive edge, and a compliment to their large-scale injection moulding machinery.
The Stratasys PolyJet Connex 350 from SYS Systems’ cutting-edge equipment was the perfect upgrade for Rutland Plastics to enhance their production capacity.
Recognising their existing technology was nearing its limits, Rutland Plastics knew they needed to upgrade to maintain growth and industry leadership.
They saw 3D printing as future-proof, promising better customer engagement, increased cost-efficiency, and competitive edge against larger offshore rivals.
This led to substantial investment in new equipment, including the Stratasys PolyJet Connex 350 3D printer, provided by the experts at SYS Systems.
Rutland Plastics decided to invest in the PolyJet Connex 350 3D printer.
Its advanced capabilities can directly print injection moulds and rapidly prototype end products, providing a cost-effective solution to customers. The PolyJet Connex 350 printer’s multi-material capability allows it to create intricate, functional models and prototypes, expanding its utility.
The PolyJet Connex 350 can handle diverse model sizes and complex designs, including medical components, flow valves, and components with active hinges. The printer’s ability to incorporate detailed and bespoke design specifics like barcodes and made it a strategic investment for Rutland Plastics.
“The process is useable not only to mimic the final manufactured part but to also create finely detailed, functional, and durable prototypes as well as sample components,” said Steve Ayre, Managing Director of Rutland Plastics.
In the past six months, the PolyJet Connex 350 3D printer installed by Rutland Plastics has manufactured a much greater and more versatile array of about 100 different printed models, allowing Rutland Plastics to direct print injection moulds as well as rapid prototyping end products.
“We are also developing a process for very small batch runs of plastic injection mouldings,” said Steve.
With the speed surpassing traditional toolrooms, the PolyJet Connex 350 allows Rutland Plastics to deliver quicker results. Registered with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), Rutland’s capability ranges from prototype design to tooling, shaping strategies for clients.
“We are now able to deliver a significant reduction in lead time that speeds concept to production for our customers.” [Steve]
The 3D printer’s ability to blend different materials within a single print run has allowed the company to accommodate a wide spectrum of customer requirements by simulating different materials, from polypropylene to ABS, from transparent to high temperature materials, and a broad range of rubber-like materials.
“The flexibility of the 3D printing process has been invaluable,” said Steve. “It has enabled design engineer Simon Grainger to blend different rigid and flexible mechanical properties in the same 3D print run/build cycle.”
The PolyJet Connex 350 3D printer has become an indispensable tool in Rutland’s ‘design for manufacture’ strategy, prioritising the client’s needs, fortifying existing business relationships but also facilitating new ones.
“We can now contribute and influence clients designs in the early stages. By reducing mould, material and most often process costs, the PolyJet machine to turn around a prototype or sample from stock material in three days.”
Why SYS Systems and Stratasys?
SYS Systems improved Rutland Plastics’ production by supplying the PolyJet Connex 350 3D printer, making their prototyping faster, more versatile, and customer-friendly.
“3D printing instils confidence in our clients and is an invaluable aid,” said Steve.