Using 3D Printing with Sodimas Elevators
3D Printing Innovation
SODIMAS, a company who specializes in designing and manufacturing high end custom elevators was established in 1975 in the city of Valence, France. Their specialty is being able to provide solutions towards all types of architectural styles and designs with the use of quality materials and a detailed finishing process.
Patrice Arnoult, General Manager at SODIMAS writes, “Because SODIMAS is focused on the niche elevator business, developing relatively small series of customized solutions, we need to innovate a lot and that’s why Stratasys 3D Printing solutions are so important to our company”. Utilizing the capabilities of the FDM-based Fortus 450mc Printer from Stratasys, SODIMAS is able to excel in three spaces: functional prototyping, assembly and sales tools, and teaching aids.
Cutting Prototype Production Time by 98%
Deputy Technical Director Stéphane Réau of SODIMAS states, “All of our elevator cabins are made from aluminum, but the concept and development for the frames is achieved using Stratasys 3D printing solutions”. He adds, “We design and produce the parts that are used to assemble the elevator’s ceiling, walls and floor, simultaneously. Once we’ve 3D printed each part, we’re able to quickly check the design and assembly for the correct fit, before proceeding to the manufacture of the lift in aluminum”.
Ever since SODIMAS started using 3D printing for their prototypes, their engineers have become accustomed to major time-savings and added flexibility that come with 3D printers.
Mathilde Richy, Structural Calculation Manager at SODIMAS writes, “As a mechanical engineer, I am very often using our Stratasys 3D Printer. I send my part design directly to the Fortus through the provided Insight software so that I can have the part in a few hours on my desk”. He adds, “When I produce the final mechanical part in metal, I have to wait about 15 days. With 3D printing, I have my part within a few hours. It allows me to assemble and validate it immediately”.
Producing Customized Assembly Tools to Boost Efficiency
SODIMAS also utilized Stratasys’ 3D printers to produce assembly tools that were inexpensive and quick to print for various elevator components. 15 different types of tools have been printed using the Fortus 450mc 3D printer so far. Réau comments, “We needed to fine-tune a component on an electronic assembly and to do so we had to remove a small part and then put it back exactly in the same place. This is a challenge – placing the part in the exact right place can be tricky . . . So we used our Stratasys 3D printer to create a custom jig to fit the assembly. The operator just places the jig on the assembly, then puts the part in space in the jig, and removes the jig. It takes just a few seconds”.
Using 3D Printed Sales Tools to Understand Elevator Mechanics
Creating unique training and sales tools is a natural fit for Stratasys 3D printing. SODIMAS is fully leveraging their Fortus 450mc 3D Printer for producing customized mechanical models for educating both customers and staff.
For example, it is important for SODIMAS customers to understand how an elevator functions internally. SODIMAS originally had a flat mechanical model mounted on a piece of wood; it was technically accurate but heavy to move around and did not provide a true three dimensional perspective. So the SODIMAS R&D department created their own 3D printed elevator model. Now both customers and staff can visually see the car ride up and down the shaft. The model is extremely easy to use and lightweight to transport.
Warehousing Expenses May Go Down in the Future
Looking ahead into the future, Patrice Arnoult, General Manager at SODIMAS, explores how SODIMAS can reduce inventory with spare 3D printed parts. He writes, “Because we have been selling elevators for 40 years, there are a lot of different types of parts that we have to keep in inventory. You can imagine the volume of stock this can represent. Now with Stratasys 3D printing we can produce some final parts by ourselves. This could allow us to provide our customers with the same service while reducing our warehousing expenses.”
For more information about the Fortus 450mc FDM 3D Printer from Stratasys, visit us here
If you are interested in exploring this solution for your organization please speak with one of our additive manufacturing experts