A leading manufacturer of 3D printing equipment and materials was facing a challenge – how can they guarantee the use of original disposables at their customer’s site?
The leading manufacturer, internationally recognized, is able to create physical objects directly from digital data. Its systems include anything from the desktop 3D printers to large, advanced 3D production systems, using unique technology and materials. These special materials can create any range of models or prototypes that are complex in shapes, sizes, and textures.
Given the unique nature of the disposable materials, the manufacturer was facing a challenge – how could they guarantee usage of original disposables from a distance, while the printer was at the customer site?
They realized they couldn’t control how the printers are being used once out of the warehouse. The disposable ‘ink-like’ material could easily be replaced with imitations, causing both a great loss in sales revenue and increased technical problems.
The risks of using unoriginal disposable parts for the leading manufacturer included:
- Lower 3D print product quality
- Quicker run-down of the printers
- Increased support service calls
- Loss in sales revenue
It was important for them to ensure the printers are used as originally intended, and they decided to examine RFID technology as the tools to do so. The company turned to LogiTag in order to find the solution.
To provide the manufacturer with a tailor-made, scalable, RFID solution that will:
- Guarantee only the original disposables are within their printers.
- Protect the company’s revenue stream
The LogiTag expert team understood that this project, similar to other OEM projects, needed to be tailor-made specifically for the manufacturer. The solution had to work alongside the existing production processes, the sales requirements, and the customer’s printing requirements.
The team initially took the time to understand and characterized the challenges, spoke
with the various departments, visited the production sites, and examined the various
unique printers. Realizing they were dealing with sever harsh environment, including a
substantial metal surrounding and electromagnetic noise, they built an RFID hardware
prototype to solve the issue. Following the trial stage, and some adjustments, it was time to implement the complete solution.
The final solution included RFID tags, which are now attached to the bottom of each disposable that leaves the factory. The disposables are inserted to the printer that is equipped with both a reader and antenna. These recognize the specific item placed inside (color, size, and serial number), alert users when it runs out, and ensure that it’s only substituted with the original brand items.
Today, the leading 3D manufacturer has the ability to extract any data from the printer’s memory, and provide their customers technical support depending on the way in which the machine was used. This means they have the choice of penalizing improper use or charge for service calls.
Over the years, LogiTag has provided the manufacturer with ongoing support, particularly when they found the need to expand this solution for further 3D printers, or other various uses
- Greater control over processes, and printers
- Improved productivity of the machines
- Up-to-date information is available for service staff
- Maintain revenue stream from disposable sales
- Reduced costs of technical problems
- Manufacturer brand protected with the intended 3D print results