As we cowl unmanned aerial automobiles and different autonomous craft in my collection on 3D printing drone swarms, we usually come throughout companies which might be counting on additive manufacturing (AM) for low-volume manufacturing of distinctive drone-related gadgets. As an illustration, British drone firm heliguy is more and more turning to 3D printing to make components. The corporate began in 2006 and now provides 38 U.Ok. police forces, Manchester United, industrial corporations, and authorities shoppers. The corporate employs 28 individuals and has a number of drone associated services and products.
Ross Embleton, Head of Analysis and Growth at heliguy, defined how the corporate was capable of set up itself in its nationwide market, saying, “We recognized a niche available in the market – fairly early on – when the drone market was simply maturing and swiftly established ourselves as one of many UK’s main impartial suppliers of drones and equipment. Since then, we’ve continued to put money into the enterprise year-on-year. Bringing the manufacturing of our elements in-house was key to us broadening our horizons and increasing into new markets. It has massively decreased design occasions too. Now, if the managing director or a shopper has an thought, we are able to create a bodily, working prototype inside per week as there’s no ready round for third occasion suppliers. ”
heliguy is a DJI reseller, nevertheless it additionally makes gadgets that add worth to DJI’s merchandise. The corporate’s items are additionally revolutionary. Beneath you’ll be able to see the Drone Cage. Some 3D printed components maintain tablets, so drones could be higher steered, as nicely. Via these sorts of components its not solely including worth to itself but additionally to DJI and its prospects.
Now, they’re 3D printing in composite supplies, due to a brand new U.Ok. authorities grant from the Sustainable Superior Manufacturing undertaking. The corporate purchased a Markforged X7 system with the cash and is investing in post-processing tools, as nicely. Moreover, heliguy has a Formlabs Fuse 3D printer and an AM Options M1 ending machine.
I really like this as a wonderful enterprise case for 3D printing. Right here now we have a agency that’s including on providers and components to its present product traces by way of using AM. In response to buyer suggestions and wishes, the corporate is designing and 3D printing components that may ship worth to prospects. The corporate’s heli man lab providing was arrange particularly to rapidly develop working components in home. And, particularly since have been coping with light-weight components, AM will complement their affords right here very nicely. We excel at duck tape-type components the place we rapidly improvise a brand new technological answer to an issue. Iteratively bettering issues and quick prototypes is our forte.
I additionally love this as a method to implement 3D printing. Quite than having to implement it in manufacturing outright or making finish use components in collection instantly, the corporate is designing one-off gadgets along with prospects. This enables them to design rapidly and proper errors. In impact, they’re studying on the fly by steadily turning prototypes into end-use components.
To me, this is without doubt one of the optimum strategies to implement 3D printing in an organization. Quite than go for a extremely dangerous, long-term undertaking, heliguy is utilizing the improvisational, quick-nature of 3D printing to implement its first components rapidly. This offers the corporate a cordoned-off, project-based method to discover the expertise, getting its ft moist by steadily delivering on worth, half after half.
Take the Drone Cage, for instance. heliguy has since improved the design and is making it in-house utilizing its present 3D printers. This can be a tremendous sensible product that would save a agency some huge cash. The drone cage sells for £500, which is steep however the drones price hundreds. Within the industrial world, misplaced time on website or the failure to finish a single inspection could also be rather more costly nonetheless. This is a superb instance of a sensible product that DJI wouldn’t take up however that delivers worth to all.
On the identical time, heliguy additionally has offered over 3,000 drone coaching periods. The corporate additionally affords drone safety options for fight drones. It has carried out over 7,000 restore periods at shopper websites, as nicely. The corporate has a consultancy, but additionally advises individuals free of charge. It might ship repairs subsequent day and lease drones. In complete, that is an all-encompassing service, which I actually respect.
In 3D printing, too many value-added resellers don’t truly add any worth. They only transfer bins. We want extra corporations like heliguy in our market that innovate and lengthen the performance of 3D printers by really including worth in a holistic approach.