Electrification and automation have developed rapidly in China. Molded-case circuit breakers (MCCBs) have been widely used for their good overload and short circuit protection functions. MCCBs, as the most basic protective appliances, features extensive application, a wide range of varieties and compact and complicated structure. In the past, designers and producers of electrical appliances often found it necessary to manufacture prototype parts through silicone coating processing and CNC processing, and to carry out verification and testing in the design and development stage of new products, which would require a long processing cycle and high costs, and become a major problem if dozens or hundreds of new products needed to be developed every year. Presented below is a case with an end customer of TPM3D.
A type of molded-case circuit breaker
Ø Customer profile:
The customer is a world-renowned smart energy solution provider, and its products include power distributors, terminal appliances, motor control and protective appliances, industrial automation, etc. With annual sales exceeding RMB 80 billion, the company operates in more than 140 countries and regions. This customer combines TPM3D P360 laser sintering system with PPS for its R&D and trial production of various low-voltage electrical appliances.
TPM3D P360 Laser Sintering System +PPS
Ø Product development:
The customer develops and produces more than 10,000 new pieces of electrical products every year. At present, its main products printed with TPM3D P360 include cases for molded-case circuit breakers and other structural parts.
molded-case circuit breaker developed by SLS technology
Other structural parts
After the sample is printed, the customer will conduct assembly verification and functional tests. The accuracy of the assembly verification is required to reach ±0.2mm. The functional tests mainly include: strength test, long delay test, insulation test, etc. The material adopted is 30% glass bead reinforced nylon 12 (Precimid1172Pro GF30) of TMP3D, which features excellent strength and impact resistance. According to the customer, the materials can meet test requirements in terms of mechanical properties and insulation. In addition, the thermal deformation temperature of the material reaches as high as 184.4℃, and the printed cases can be tested without being deformed in a thermostat at 80℃ for 4 hours, which meets the requirements of the long delay test. On the whole, cases of molded-case circuit breakers printed with SLS technology are on a par with traditional injection molded parts.
Ø Environmentally friendly:
When purchasing the P360 laser sintering system, the customer also configured a Parts & Powder Processing Station(PPS),which launched in 2018 by TPM3D, first one in Asia, integrate parts cleaning, powder recycling,mixing,feeding and powder collecting,solved the problems such as time-wasting, pollution and safety when labor operation. PPS has passed the national standard for dust explosion-proof zone 22 and the international CE certification and earned high recognition for its better performance in ensuring user safety.
clean and tidy environment
Ø Cost reduction and efficiency improvement:
Before introduced the SLS 3D printing system, the customer adopted CNC machining or outsourced silicone coating machining, which took at least 5-6 days to obtain the test parts. After the P360 laser sintering system was put into production, samples could be obtained and tested after only 48 hours, saving time by more than 60%. In the past, outsourced case processing cost about RMB 4,000/set. With SLS 3D printing technology, the cost can be controlled under RMB 700/set, a reduction by more than 80%. With a high utilization rate, currently the customer's equipment can print 2-3 full chamber per week on average. In addition, according to the customer, it can save about RMB 700,000 per year, thus better reducing costs and improving efficiency.
Comparison of cost and cycle between traditional process and SLS 3D printing process
"TPM3D’s P360 system is convenient and fast; PPS reduces manual intervention while achieving high processing efficiency of parts and powder. The solution saves time and cost and ensures the tidiness and safety of the environment.”
——Feedback from the customer