Solaxis Ingenious Manufacturing, Inc.
Growing a Design, Tooling and Manufacturing Company with SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys Solutions
Faster Design, Prototyping, Direct ManufacturingUsing the combination of SOLIDWORKS design and analysis tools and Stratasys® Fortus® 900mc™ and Fortus 400mc™ 3D printers, Solaxis has grown to become one of the largest manufacturing companies in Canada specializing in fused deposition modeling® (FDM™) for rapid prototyping, specialized tooling, and low-volume production applications in Canada. The company’s success stems from its quick turnarounds and high precision. “With SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys solutions, we’re simply faster, especially for specialized tooling applications,” Guilbault stresses. “A conventional approach to developing a jig can take anywhere from 12 to 14 weeks. We’ve completed these types of projects—from design to production—in just three weeks using SOLIDWORKS software and Stratasys 3D printers, which is at least a 75 percent reduction in development cycles when compared to traditional techniques.”
Lightweight Jogs, Fixtures, and PartsIn addition to enabling the development of specialized tooling, production components, and surrogate parts more quickly, SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys solutions allow Solaxis to offer innovative approaches that improve both performance and safety. For example, during the development of a 36 x 24-inch jig with grippers for an automotive production application, Solaxis reduced the weight of the jig by one-fifth, from 150 to 28 pounds. Lightweighting the jig not only improved safety, it cut four seconds per cycle from the process, a productivity improvement of 15 percent. “Because we are able to provide customers with substantial productivity gains in a fraction of the time of conventional approaches, we’re realizing dramatic growth,” Guilbault says. “Initially, we did mainly prototypes. Now, our tooling and 3D printed production parts business have both grown significantly and each makes up roughly 20 percent of our revenue. We anticipate that these services will soon become the core of our business.”
Combining FEA and 3D PrintingSolaxis anticipates additional benefits in the future by combining the finite element analysis (FEA) simulation capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Premium software with Stratasys 3D printing technology. “We plan on using FEA for more than virtual testing of part performance,” Guilbault says. “We also plan on using FEA and 3D printing to make recommendations on design changes to improve tooling cycle life, shave material from a design, and validate the performance of 3D printed materials, as well as push the envelope with FEA further into the 3D printing realm. “Working with aerospace plastics like the ULTEM 9085 material, we build parts at high temperatures in the 3D printer build chamber,” Guilbault continues. “SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools will enable us to ensure that the parts won’t warp before we start the build. We also plan to use FEA studies to tell us the optimal part geometry required. This capability will allow us to minimize expensive material usage and reduce scrap and rework, saving time and money in the process.”
Solaxis Ingenious Manufacturing, Inc., is an innovative manufacturing company that specializes in 3D printing, 3D scanning, design, prototyping, and specialized tooling. Choosing the right 3D CAD system, rapid prototyping solution, and direct manufacturing technology was critical to fulfilling the company’s vision of providing fast, flexible options for product design, tooling, and manufacturing.
Solaxis chose SOLIDWORKS Professional design software, SOLIDWORKS Premium design and analysis software, and Stratasys Fortus 900mc and Fortus 400mc 3D printing solutions to support its business. The company chose SOLIDWORKS software because it is easy to use, is pervasive among prospective customers and employees, and provides the widest range of capabilities for the price. The company chose Stratasys 3D printing solutions because of the materials supported, reliability, and performance. By utilizing the combination of SOLIDWORKS design and Stratasys 3D printing solutions, Solaxis cut tooling development cycles by 75 percent; increased its tooling business to 20 percent; grew its 3D printed production part business to 20 percent; and reduced material usage, scrap, and rework.
- Cut tooling development cycles by 75 percent
- Increased tooling business to 20 percent
- Grew 3D-printed production part business to 20 percent
- Reduced material usage, scrap, and rework
Products(s) Used:SolidWorks Professional