Buying time for 3D printing

A US manufacturer's purchase of metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing (AM) machines helped reduce production time, bureaucracy and cost.

3D printed metal and carbon fiber components for R&D testing.
3D printed metal and carbon fiber components for R&D testing.

Caldwell Manufacturing is a global window and door hardware manufacturer based in New York State, USA. “We're an integrated supply partner,” said Caldwell Manufacturing CEO, Eric Mertz. “The springs that hold a window or door open, the hardware, the locks, the latches, all the mechanical hardware that makes a window or door operate, that's what we're focused on.”

The company was founded in 1888 and spent the first of its years as a hardware manufacturing company. In the 1920s, the company diversified into building-related products. Caldwell now ships to thousands of customers in 70 different countries, and has factories in the US, UK, India, and Mexico. It is responsible for everything from design ideation to final product, developing and commercializing Caldwell's components whilst creating injection molds, springs, and more.

For any piece of window or door hardware it makes, Caldwell also needs to make holding fixtures, assembly fixtures, and error-proofing fixtures, which until recently were all designed in-house and cut from steel through a third-party supplier. The internal tooling often took up to eight weeks to design and develop, and certain components had to be sourced from overseas, which led to product development cycles of anywhere between 6-12 months.

 

Read the full feature article in the MAG Online Library here.