Waste management and machinery designer and manufacturer, Whitham Mills, is to formally explore the use of 3D printing technology to manufacture breakdown and repair parts on customers’ sites to reduce baler downtime.
The company said it will investigate the process of training staff and requirements for fitting out vehicles with the necessary technology to produce a range of specific machine parts other than standard consumables.
According to Whitham Mills, the study, which will be carried out by its engineering team, will be used as a “test-bed” designed to accelerate repair times by enabling every maintenance vehicle to carry an unlimited number of components which would be downloaded and 3D printed.
Whitham Mills explained that 3D printing technology has now become available on the high street. And, developments in techniques mean that printing of parts made form stainless steel, titanium and cobalt chromium in a process called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), is now “commonplace”.
The technology is being used in sectors such as aerospace and a range of medical applications.
The company added that this is in addition to the ceramic, plastic polymers, rubber and fabric materials which can also be made using similar techniques.
Ben Smart, managing director of Whitham Mills, said: “We are continually thinking about service response times and what we can do differently to keep our customers happy. In the future we’ll be able to bring the entire Whitham Mills factory direct to your baling system.
“We are convinced that companies like ours need to keep moving and innovating in order to remain competitive. That’s why we are pushing ourselves to discover what can be done with this technology and investigating its use. These are exciting times.”
Whitham Mills provides machinery to a range of public and private sector organisations in the waste management, retail and warehousing sectors.
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