Additive manufacturing is the industrial production name for 3D printing, a computer-controlled process that creates three dimensional objects by depositing materials, typically in layers. PTA Plastics Additive Manufacturing Team came to fruition as a subset of company initiatives to expand our additive manufacturing knowledge base with new technologies and capabilities. Originally, this was kicked-off in multiple phases which included the addition of 3D printers in both of our locations in Oxford, Connecticut, and Longmont, Colorado, to be accessible to all Employee-Owners as a means to learn together. Ray Marquis, Automation Technician, joined the Additive Manufacturing Team in November 2020 and assisted in the implementation of the Phase 1 Prusa 3D printer in Connecticut. Not only did he work with the team to complete the grant application to obtain the HP 540, but is also trained in the usage of the HP where ideas are brought to life.
With the creation of our new 3D Printing Lab, PTA Plastics is able to print many various quality fixtures and parts for End of Arm Tooling (EOAT). John Smith, Maintenance Technician, is also a representative of the Additive Manufacturing Team and assisted in countless hours of research to narrow down 3D printing technologies and played a major role in building the lab and assisting in the day-to-day process of printing and post-processing parts.
The lab serves as a home for our 3D printers, post-processing equipment, and accessories while keeping a clean environment for all printing needs. All requests for printing fixtures are handled individually beginning from a design file to a finished product all in one room. Greg Thayer, Work Instruction Specialist, focuses on the different types of additive technologies and procedures – specifically how to properly use them. By shifting the mindset from Subtractive Manufacturing to Additive Manufacturing, this lab allows for faster turn-around needs with design changes or repairs, or shortening the timeframe from design to parts with rapid prototyping. The ability to 3D print dimensionally-accurate quality parts could also allow for designs to be turned into tangible objects by simply providing a CAD drawing; the possibilities are endless as the potential of this lab further grows.
The Additive Manufacturing Team and the 3D Printing Lab has allowed PTA Plastics to expand and acquire further knowledge of 3D print technologies and to identify and use these new technologies in our manufacturing process. In addition, not only does this allow Employee-Owners to advance their careers, but to expand and develop the company as a whole as well.
ABOUT PTA PLASTICS
Supporting new product introduction and speed to market, PTA Plastics is a progressive custom plastic injection molder – specializing in engineering for low/medium volume and high mix solutions. An in-house tool room with deep moldmaking competencies led by a cohesive team of Employee-Owners, PTA Plastics serves the medical industry, defense industry, and safety & security.