Mon-Chan Co. Ltd. is a Japanese company that develops, repairs, and customizes health and well-being equipment. An example of Mon-Chan’s products is an innovative wheelchair function consisting of anti-rollback modules and stand-up support. By using a Raise3D printer in their primary manufacturing process, Mon-Chan can produce any required parts and can easily adapt to the business environment of limited fabrication capability, the need for lower power consumption, and personalized demand, all of which were harsh challenges for this sector when using traditional manufacturing methods.
Unlike FMCG or high-end niche sectors, Mon-Chan operates in a more scattered market with a low volume and limited profit. These conditions restrict the any change in scale of Mon-Chan’s manufacturing and their fabrication capability.
Health and well-being products, such as a wheelchairs, usually require a significant amount of personalization, but the relatively higher cost of a customized component is too expensive for most consumers in the sector. However, Mon-Chan faced a similar cost obstacle when the company needed to find replacement parts for products that did not have available spare parts in the market. The company found that the cost of ordering a new, customized spare part was high.
Mon-Chan was a small workshop with limited fabrication techniques. In the past, Mon-Chan’s only option for executing product development was by outsourcing the component fabrication. In outsourcing component fabrication, Mon-Chan faced slow iteration and a high service cost from the vendor.
How Mon-Chan Benefits from 3D Printing
To be able to provide personalization at a lower cost, Mon-Chan purchased the Raise3D N2S printer. The ability to use additive manufacturing in-house by employing FFF printing removed the need for Mon-Chan to outsource the production of components and, at the same time, reduced the difficulty of operating at a small business scale.
Mon-Chan currently uses a 3D scanner and CAD software in the company’s 3D printing process. For example, when Mon-Chan customizes a wheelchair’s foot paddle, the company 3D scans standard parts in their inventory. Then Mon-Chan reconstructs and modifies the 3D model’s geometry then prints the model. A 3D printer can produce a final part without any prior setup work, such as changing a tool-head or a geometry bind point. This process allows Mon-Chan to immediately address any need for a custom spare part and replacement.
In-house 3D printing has also impacted Mon-Chan’s product development. Once the company no longer needed to outsource its component fabrication, Mon-Chan’s development cycle and total cost were reduced by 50% and 33% respectively. The N2S can print several versions of a prototype in hours at a low cost, with the main expense being the company’s thermoplastic filament consumption. In addition, designers and engineers can instantly provide feedback by inspecting printed parts once it finishes printing. Finally, Mon-Chan no longer needs to wait for every part to be delivered from the vendor nor is there a need to carry out any additional iteration due to miscommunication.
Quantified Way for Micro Engineering
Mon-Chan has was able to create inner structure engineering using the rich parameters and comprehensive slicing preview provided by ideaMaker. By modifying structure features such as shell number, infill rate, infill structure, extrusion width, and layer height, Mon-Chan tried to redefine the mechanical properties of the workpiece against possible stress loading onto current geometry. Rather than redrawing the inner structure outline, ideaMaker provides a much easier method for such tasks with a numeric UI settings and powerful algorithms. All changes can be previewed by simulating an extruding path in various perspectives and selective cross-section.
Versatile Material Compatibility
For end-use parts, Mon-Chan prefers performance thermoplastic such as PC and ABS for printing. Printed parts must be stiff and impact-resistant when used in a heavy-duty scenario, such as in Mon-Chan’s wheelchair modules. Raise3D’s FFF technology ensures that the N2S is compatible with these popular thermoplastics. In addition, Raise3D’s material science team developed well-paired filament products with stable printing performance.
Energizing Distributed Manufacturers
Distributed manufacturing sectors such as automotive aftersales, orthopedics, dental, and props can benefit from 3D printing. Different from large-scale manufacturing sectors such as FMCG, automotive, household, and electronics, distributed manufacturers suffer from high costs and low volume with its scattered market. However, 3D printing reverses this business environment with a flexible and more beneficial manufacturing process.
This case is shared by Japan 3D Printer, which is Raise3D’s distributor in Japan.