3D Printing 

What is 3D printing? You may not have encounter this term but eventually most products that you will be buying in the near future will probably utilize this growing technology.

This technology to create a three dimensional object is using additive manufacturing where raw materials are added layer by layer by a computer aided design or CAD program which contains the design of the object. 

An analogy of this technology is to think of the desk jet ink printer that you have at home. Instead of the nozzles that dispense the ink to print your document, the 3D printer will dispense materials such as thermoplastic in liquid form layer by layer. The pattern of the layers will follow the design of  the graphical data in the computer. Eventually, the materials will harden and the desired object will be created.

3D Printing In Research & Development

If you are in the research and development of air conditioner products, this technology will transform the way you do things.

In the conventional way, if you need to make a prototype such as a plastic centrifugal fan for the purpose of testing or to show your customers the design before getting their buy-off. These are some of the steps that you will take.

  • Design the part using a computer aided design software
  • Get a mold maker to adapt the design to be used by the CNC machine.
  • A block of material with a suitable dimension will be placed on the CNC machine. The material is removed layer by layer by grinding, milling or cutting it. 
  • After many hours or days of operation, a prototype is made.
  • Wastage of material is evident.

This process takes at least a few days and if any design change is required, the entire process is repeated. Purchasing a CNC machine may not be practical as it is costly and you may not be able to justify to the management to buy it.

If you use the 3D printer technology, there is no wastage of materials as the materials are only dispensed when needed according to the design of the parts. The price of the printer has gone down in recent years with the cost ranging from a couple of hundreds to less than $500,000 depending on the complexity of the machine.

Prototyping can now be done in a couple of hours instead of days as you can do it in-house now. Product development time has now been shortened thus enabling your marketing team the ability to launch new products ahead of the competitors.

You can use the printer to make the enclosure for this window air conditioner.

Here are some of the parts that you can create with ease using this technology.

  • Plastic parts of indoor fan coil unit that housed the indoor coil of a split air conditioner. In future, you will be able to customize the outlook of the air conditioner that fits in to the design of your house.
  • Enclosure for the printed circuit boards (PCBs) which control the air conditioner.
  • Cross blow fan, centrifugal fan and other plastic or even metal parts.

Simplify processes in purchasing & warehousing

For parts that are not needed in mass quantity you can now make it yourself using these printers. Instead of waiting for suppliers to deliver the parts, you can now make some of the parts in-house whenever you need them. In this way, the control of raw materials for production is now within your company's grasp. This in effect will help to reduce the inventory of these parts in the warehouse. The JIT (just in time) concept is now more achievable.

Fused Deposition Modelling Process

For a good understanding of how the 3D printing works, here is a video of the FDM process. Other processes such as SLS(Selective Laser Sintering) and SLA(Stereolithography) are also available. In the end, you will have to select the best equipment that meet the needs of your company.

Energy Saving Tips       Refrigerant      IAQ      Motors      Humidifier

  Cooling Load    Leak Detection     HVAC Scholarships    Filter Drier

  HVAC Contests      3D Printing      Air Filter      Pumps    AHU  

HVAC Manufacturers    Air Conditioner Ratings       Radon

Split AC Brands    Smart Thermostats   DX System

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave us a comment in the box below.