Doug Steindl is the corporate development lab supervisor for Sub-Zero Group, maker of luxury home appliances. His team helps bring products from an idea to the kitchen showroom. The lab acts as miniature factory-within-a-factory, refining the designs for new products until they are ready for the production tooling stage. Seven printers currently round out the development lab’s team, working day and night to meet the ever-increasing product development needs.
Many of the parts Steindl’s team prototypes are big. It’s not surprising since some Sub-Zero refrigerators are up to four feet wide. But it’s these kinds of products that have begun to challenge the capacity of the lab’s 3D printers. When the size of the part exceeds the printer’s capability, Steindl has had to print it in pieces and glue them together. That takes precious time and involves extra pre and post-print processing.
To avoid that as much as possible, Steindl relies on the lab’s Stratasys Fortus 900mc printer, which comes with a generous build volume. However, the additional demand often overloads the printer, which is usually earmarked for jobs that require advanced materials. Faced with these constraints, the lab must outsource, which adds more time and cost to the development program.
The F770 is designed to meet the need for an easy-to-use, affordable, large-format printer. Seeing an opportunity, Steindl and Sub-Zero became one of the first customers to own the F770.
The addition of the F770 provides a substantial benefit for Sub-Zero by reducing the need for outsourcing. “I think the biggest thing with having the F770 in the lab is that we’re going to be able to keep bigger parts in-house,” says Steindl. Recognizing that outsourcing will never be completely avoided, Steindl sees the F770’s large capacity filling a real need.
The added capability impacts the bottom line too. According to Steindl, the F770’s ability to retain more work in-house represents a 30% to 40% cost savings. That is significant, considering the lab is faced with new product builds every six weeks.