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Gordon Murray Design reduces prototyping times by 68% with Stratasys Fortus machine

16 September 2010

The Stratasys Fortus 400mc rapid prototyping machine has helped Gordon Murray Design to reduce development costs across the board. It has been involved throughout the design and prototyping of the company’s inaugural vehicle, code named T.25, which represents a major breakthrough in city car design in terms of strength, performance, weight, cost, safety, usability, tooling, quality, energy efficiency, recyclability and ease of assembly.

The Fortus 400mc has been in use on the design of the T.25 every single day. It also outperformed its original expectations as the company soon discovered that it could use it more and more for structural, in addition to prototype parts. In fact, the entire T.25 interior has been designed using the Stratasys machine – including the instrument panel, sun visor, internal mirrors and internal trim. Gordon Murray Design expects to do the same with its next project, the T.27 all-electric three seater city car.

Meanwhile, Trainer Development Flight (TDF), based at Sheppard Air Force Base in the USA, designs, develops, and manufactures unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) trainers and training aids for the US Air Force and the US Department of Defense (a typical USAF UAV is shown below). The trainers and training aids may be either original products or replicas of existing ones, depending on the training need. Some devices are not required to be working units, so it usually isn’t cost-efficient to purchase the actual item and for most training applications, it’s more economical to train students on replicas.

Hitherto, TDF used conventional time-consuming and costly manufacturing methods to make these products; now it uses FDM Direct Digital Manufacturing to fabricate a wide majority of its training products and currently there are four Stratasys FDM additive fabrication machines deployed on this operation.

TDF decided on FDM because the process is environmentally safe and 100% ‘green’ with zero waste. The machines build a variety of internal and external components, including most of the UAV body components as well as several cowlings, propellers and antennas. Just for producing the UAV’s large antenna alone, the Stratasys FDM machines did the job in about one-tenth the time it would normally have taken with conventional methods and at a considerable cost saving.

For its first Stratasys FDM machine purchase, TDF expected a four year return on investment; in the end it paid for itself in only 18 months.

All Stratasys FDM machines are available in the UK from Laser Lines

 


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