Designing High-End Elevators with 3D Printing
Established in 1975, Sodimas has been designing and selling elevator components that can be adapted to all architectural styles and projects that require high-quality materials and finishes. Adopting FDM 3D printing technology has allowed Sodimas to excel in the elevator manufacturing business as they’ve seen great benefits in three primary applications: functional prototyping, assembly of jigs, and sales/teaching aids.
“When I produce a final mechanical part in metal, I have to wait about 15 days. But with our Stratasys 3D Printer, I can have my part right in front of me in a few hours, assemble it and validate it immediately.” –Mathilde Richy, Sodimas
Sodimas produces aluminum elevator cabins and leverages 3D printing during the concept and design development process. 3D printing gives their engineers substantial time-savings and flexibility during the design development process. “We simultaneously design and produce parts used to assemble the elevator’s ceiling, walls and floor,” said Stéphane Réau, deputy technical director at Sodimas. “With 3D printing, we’re able to quickly check the design and assembly for the correct fit, before proceeding to manufacturing the elevator in aluminum.”
Being able to 3D print customized mechanical models allowed Sodimas to not only boost productivity but also educate its staff and customers. It is important customers understand how an elevator functions inside the shaft. Sodimas originally used a flat mechanical model mounted on a piece of wood to demonstrate, but it is heavy and did not provide a true three-dimensional perspective. Now, the 3D printed elevator model allows customers and staff to actually see the car ride up and down in the shaft. The model is extremely easy to use and lightweight to transport.
Looking towards the future, Sodimas plans to reduce their large inventory of spare parts with a digital library of their respective CAD files, freeing up physical space and labour. With 3D printing, the company can produce final parts in-house, allowing them to provide customers with the same great service while reducing warehouse expenses.