SPANK INDUSTRIES is one of only a few brands of its size in the world, with in-house design, development and manufacturing of a complete line of unique and exclusive components. It has been producing precision-crafted gravity MTB components since 2002. From only the highest quality raw materials, SPANK manufactures products in their wholly-owned factory.
The Factory would Struggle without Prototypes
SPANK designs, develops and manufactures a complete series of unique and exclusive components in their factory. Before adopting 3D printing technology, it was very difficult to discuss at an early stage, as the in-house design process requires confidentiality, and SPANK could not send their designs out to third parties to be prototyped.
Reducing the Duration of the Component Validation Cycle by 50%
SPANK uses traditional advanced manufacturing methods at its facility, including 5-Axis Japanese CNC machines, PCD Diamond cutting tools from a leading automotive supplier in Germany, and Swiss-made fixtures. Although these state-of-the-art production tools are already in use, there are still some problems. Programming prior to machining is complex and slow. Every stroke, corner and line of the mechanical drawing needs to be programmed, while cutting layers of metal material is demanding and the process is very time consuming and wasteful.
“Opting for 3D printing technology resulted in overcoming these problems we had in the prototyping process, and we have been using 3D printers for over 7 years”.
– Mr. Lang from SPANK
SPANK has several different products, from mountain bike wheels to small parts. Due to the large number and variety of bicycle components, using other 3D printers requires cutting the model into several parts, which means breaking down models into smaller components and printing one at a time, thus increasing the total assembly time significantly. In contrast, the large print size of the Raise3D Pro3 Plus printer allows several different larger parts to be printed at once. The bigger printing area is one of the reasons SPANK chose Raise3D. It helps them save to cut the time needed for the component verification cycle in half.
Remote Monitor Helps Management
With the help of Raise3D’s self-developed ideaMaker slicing software and RaiseCloud, engineers and designers see significant improvements in the productivity; any discussion they have goes very smoothly, avoiding lots of problems. Mr. Lang also said that with RaiseCloud software, he doesn’t need to go to the factory site in person, but can monitor the 3D printers’ normal production operation remotely on his mobile phone or laptop anytime and anywhere, which translates to greater convenience and efficiency of both production and management.
More Filaments Allow for More Applications
Mr. Lang also mentioned how the Pro3 can print shore 75A filament with great results. Before using the Pro3 series printers, other brands of 3D printers failed a lot, especially for larger and thinner parts. He concluded that “Pro3 series printer is a very good and reliable 3D printer compared to other printers we used before”.
The Raise3D Pro3 series printer is open source and is designed to be compatible with many types of filaments. The Raise3D filaments department has developed the Open Filament Program (OFP), a collaboration between Raise3D and an increasing number of filament manufacturers to identify and select top performing filaments, as well as provide optimal settings for use with Raise3D printers. In addition to simple prototype verification using PLA filaments with Raise3D Pro3 series printers, it will be possible to print with a variety of filaments and create new jigs in small batches in the future.
Looking to the Future
SPANK reduces its Component Validation time by 50% with Raise3D printers.
At the moment, they are vital in prototyping for design, manufacturing, and bicycle components sales. As more available filaments are put into use, Raise3D printers will play more important roles in producing various parts and jigs for SPANK.
The case is shared by Kiden, which is a distributor of Raise3D in Taiwan.