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Keech 3D’s new facility will offer cheap, high quality quarry products in less time.
Keech 3D’s new facility will offer cheap, high quality quarry products in less time.
 










3D printing facility could drive quarry innovation

A local manufacturing company has opened what could be Australia’s first commercially available large format 3D printer, offering the quarry industry cheaper and higher quality products in less time.

After 80 years of designing and manufacturing high integrity steel casings and ground-engaging tools for the quarry industry, Keech Australia has launched a new subsidiary – Keech 3D.

In addition to investing almost $1 million of its own funds into 3D technology, Keech was awarded a $141,700 grant from the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation in August 2013, allowing the company to acquire a new large format 3D printer that is now based at its steel foundry and headquarters in Bendigo.

Keech first identified that 3D printing could be a viable option for improving its pattern-making services some three or four years ago, and its Bendigo 3D printing facility has been operating since January this year.

Keech CEO Herbert Hermens told Quarry he only wanted to launch Keech 3D once he felt confident that “anybody with a need could come to us and we could support them with this technology”.

“We have a variety of printers now available so it gives us enormous scope to satisfy the market,” he said. “There’s been a lot of learning happening here in the last three or four months particularly, so the business is now on the front foot.”

Faster, cheaper manufacturing and prototyping

Keech’s new 3D printing facility services the whole of Australia and offers complete commercial services, including product design, digital scanning, CAD (computer-aided design) modelling, post-finishing and reverse engineering.

Hermens said the facility enabled the company to create product moulds faster and at a reduced cost, with production savings passed onto customers. “We can move from design to production in a third of the current time it’s taking us using the traditional methodology (about 12 months), so it’s had a massive impact on the cost structure of this company,” he said.

Quality is not compromised either. Hermens explained that the “additive” methodology employed by the 3D printer layers material precisely where it is needed – meaning material waste is minimised and the resulting product is often far lighter and stronger than would have been possible with traditional casting.

Hermens was most excited about the prototyping capabilities that the company is now able to offer – something the quarry industry has already shown interest in.

“3D printing allows us to take prototypes of new concepts to market before we go through the expense of cutting patterns and casting samples,” Hermens explained. “Making a sample part for the quarry industry can cost in excess of $20,000 or $30,000. Printing a product prototype probably requires only 10 per cent of that cost and allows us to keep tweaking the design so that the customer has a real input in the new generation products that we’re developing.”

Hermens said that Keech 3D had already been approached a number of times by the quarry industry and described the market’s positive response to its new services as “overwhelming”.

“Our objective is to be able to offer customers printing services for every material available at any time on the market,” he said. “I believe we have chosen our current equipment reasonably well but we are also working with suppliers of this equipment all around the world to ensure we stay up to date on technology developments. We look forward to improving and increasing our machine range, and we’re ready and set to respond quickly to customer demands.”

Source: Keech 3D

 










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Monday, 26 August, 2019 1:34pm
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