Advertorial Additive Manufacturing Whale Pumps accelerates time to market with 3D printed injection molds

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Based in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Whale Pumps designs and manufactures a diverse range of pumping and heating systems that include plastic and rubber parts for consumer and industrial applications around the world.

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These functional prototype diaphragms were made with Santoprene using a 3D printed injection mold (foreground). The CNC tool previously used to create the same part is shown in the background.
These functional prototype diaphragms were made with Santoprene using a 3D printed injection mold (foreground). The CNC tool previously used to create the same part is shown in the background.
(Source: Stratasys)

The company employs an impressive in-house injection molding operation to manufacture the systems, but producing injection molds requires ordering costly CNC tools that typically take four to five weeks to create, are very heavy to transport, and cost tens of thousands of pounds sterling. Furthermore, Whale outsources its functional prototype parts from service bureaus often located in China. All of these factors greatly slow down the R&D process and substantially delay the launch of new products to market.

3D Printing is the Solution

Accelerating the time to market and enhanced product innovation are key drivers to Whale’s success. To achieve this, Whale investigated the benefits associated with 3D printing.

“We saw 3D printing as a brilliant opportunity to change our business, reducing risk and the need for re-engineering. So we started looking at the most advanced 3D printing technology,” explains Patrick Hurst, Managing Director for Whale.

Gallery

The company purchased a Stratasys® 3D Printer which utilizes PolyJet™ technology. Soon corporate engineers were producing prototype parts in multiple materials and colors.

“Literally a week after we received the machine, it was being fully utilized. Then, because of the overwhelming demand, we bought another Stratasys 3D printer a few months later,” recalls Patrick.

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