Service King employs 3D printing for car bumper repairs

Service King employs 3D printing for car bumper repairs

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Service King employs 3D printing for car bumper repairs

American auto repair company Service King has implemented 3D printing to improve its operations. Using a 3D printer, the company has innovated its bumper repair process with parts produced in-house.

According to Chief Information Officer Derek Kramer, the initial experiment has now expanded to Service King Collision Repair Centres in Phoenix, Seattle and Dallas. Saving both costs and time is key to this implementation and elsewhere in the automotive industry, aVolkswagen factory in Portugal is similarly using FDM 3D printers to create tooling parts.

The main purpose of using 3D printing for Service King is to replace the crucial plastic tabs that attach a bumper to the front of the automobile. Derek Kramer explains these tabs are so often comprised in collisions and, if so, are unable to be repaired.

Service King then had the idea of reproducing the tabs themselves using 3D printing which Kramer says to everyones shock, it was very easy. Kramer explains the first car they tested the technique on was repaired in the same day and sent away without needing new parts or repainting. However not only was it fast, Kramer says the quality of the repair was strong.

Service King is using Airwolf Axiom FDM 3D printers but has also developed its own patented technology. Service King has a patented manual extruder which can churn out thin patches for bumpers. Kramer states the company has also filed for further patents relating to its 3D printer software and design of the oversized 3D printed plastic bumper tabs.

To create 3D printed parts, Service King technicians take photographs of the original pieces which are then turned into 3D models using computer photogrammetry software.

While Service King is implementing 3D printing for very small car parts, elsewhere the technology is beginning to find worth in the locomotive industry withDeutsche Bahn 3D printing spare parts for its trains. Additionally Volkswagen has just launched anew initiative for 3D printed spare parts, while Local Motors has larger ambitions by3D printing an entire autonomous shuttle bus.

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Featured image shows a Service King Collision Repair Center. Image via Service King.

Corey has a keen interest in 3D printing and all tech-related news, as well as the wider impact of additive manufacturing.

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Interview: 3DCompare launches 3D printing comparison service

A new UK based 3D printing comparison platform launches today. I caught up with Alex Ziff, CEO of3DCompare, to learn more about how his company fits into the growing additive manufacturing ecosystem.

Our platform, 3DCompare addresses the need for small batch, prototype printing which is affordable, easy to access and simple to achieve, Ziff tells me.

Accessible via web browser, users can compare the cost of printing a 3D model and then order the 3D print from suppliers vetted by 3DCompare.

The prospect should appeal to both service bureaux looking to increase 3D printer usage and also end-users, those who want to benefit from 3D printing but are not ready, or do not have the volume, to make a capital investment in their own 3D printers. Through a global network, 3DCompare offers FDM/FFF, SLA and SLS 3D printing.

I asked the 3DCompare CEO why his company are launching the service now, We believe that the 3D printing market has matured enough to need a platform like ours.

There is growing demand for 3D printing. Industries such as jewellery, architecture and dentistry have realised 3D printings potential for cheaper and better quality objects. There is a real need for a service that guarantees a network with expertise, consistency and quality.

The proposal seems an attractive one, with free registration for both businesses and users. The 3DCompare website promotes itself as the best way to compare 3D printing services online. Ziff explains, Having started with North America and Europe, 3DCompare is rapidly expanding into a worldwide network which facilitates 3D printing for a myriad of business uses.

It is not only 3D printing for business use that is growing, and 3DCompare represents another growing sector in the industry 3D printing platforms. Late last year we reported howcustomer dissatisfaction with changes at 3D Hubswas causing a certain degree of consternation.

I asked Ziff how 3DCompare is different to current 3D printing services and platforms. This is a B2B site, designed and run to meet industry needs for 3D Printing, he explains. Indeed, the long list of 3D printing services working with 3DCompare includes leaders such asiMaterialise,Shapeways,Sculpteoand many more.

Ziff is also keen to point out that transparency is another area where his company intends to stand out. We offer transparency in pricing, costs, data and the platform itself, he says. For users and partners this means 3DCompare guarantees partners and providers, and will give a full breakdown of costs on quotes. Cost is transparent, with the company charging a monthly subscription, rather than a percentage fee.

The 3D printing comparison service is designed to be straightforward, customers can upload a file, choose their material, see the price and make an order. Beta testing partners are reportedly happy with the service to date, with the CEO at Proto 3D saying, Being listed on has connected us with a whole new range of potential customers from all sorts of industries, helping us to grow our 3D printing service. It has put us in front of customers and all without having to spend huge amounts on marketing.

For a startup, 3DCompare has a large team of developers, boasting more than 25 years combined experience. The coding team is led by Jerome Charvet, CTO of 3DCompare. Charvet explains, 3DCompare is constantly evolving its software to reflect the needs of this innovative and evolving industry with new tools, functions and features being constantly added. He says that users can also expect additional features, This is not a static platform; 3DCompare is committed to providing our service partners with software that adapts to their needs.

Users can test the service for themselves as the3DCompare websiteis now live.

Dont forget, nominations are open for3D Printing Industry Awards 2018. Tell us who is leading the 3D printing industry.

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Michael Petch is the editor-in-chief at 3DPI and the author of several books on 3D printing. He is a regular keynote speaker at technology conferences where he has delivered presentations such as 3D printing with graphene and ceramics and the use of technology to enhance food security. Michael is most interested in the science behind emerging technology and the accompanying economic and social implications.

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