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SouthMach Manufacturing and Electronics Exhibition

22 - 23 May 2019

Wednesday 22nd 9am-6pm
Thursday 23rd 9am-4pm

Horncastle Arena Christchurch

Exhibitor Enquiry







Work Safe New Zealand
University of Canterbury
NZ Manufacturer
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
DEMM engineering & manufacturi
Warehouse stationary
Work Safe New Zealand
University of Canterbury
NZ Manufacturer
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
DEMM engineering & manufacturi
Warehouse stationary

Kiwi Engineer? Win $21,040 in cash and prizes

There’s still the best part of a month to get your entry into The Great Kiwi Engineering Challenge. You’re professional engineers, you can wow us with a great feat of engineering with just two days’ work and some creative juices if you wanted to…we know, we’ve seen what you can produce.

ENTRIES CLOSE  April 20th, 5pm via email.

All you have to do is:

  1. Design a Kiwi
  2. Engineer the Kiwi* (see rules below)
  3. Email with a video or photos of your entry.

That’s it. One prize… winner takes all, and you and/or your engineering business could be crowned CHAMPION of The Great Kiwi Engineering Competition. A great prize valued at $21,040 (RRP) listed below will then be yours.

YOU CAN ENTER AS A TEAM or INDIVIDUAL…. All you need to be is a professional engineer for a registered company with an engineering workshop. Materials and dimensions are all below (*NB: the student category has been postponed until 2020 – therefore we have opened the overall category up to students studying a facet of engineering as well).

GET CRACKING! Show us Kiwis how creative we can be by making a creative Kiwi.

$6000 cash (courtesy of Engineering News and XPO)
$5000 gift certificate from Machinery House (courtesy of Machinery House)
$4795 Outside Oven (courtesy of The Outside)
$3550 Two-page profile in Engineering News (courtesy of Engineering News)
$1695 Cigweld ESAB TransMIG 175i welder (courtesy of Cigweld)
Total cash and prizes value: RRP$21,040 for the lucky winner!

As we said, get cracking and get your entries in…. see conditions for who, when, what, and how below.


The post Kiwi Engineer? Win $21,040 in cash and prizes appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Welcome To A New Dimension Of Welding And A New Best Friend

It’s often said that a dog is a man’s best friend, but when it comes to professional welding, your welding helmet is way out in front.

Given the thousands of hours that you will be spending working with your welding helmet, it only makes sense that the welding helmet you choose should be of the ultimate quality and provide the highest safety protection standards available. You put in the hard yards welding, week in, week out looking to the future and the next generations.

Can you imagine retirement with fading eyesight due to improper/inferior eye protection? As the original inventor of the auto darkening helmet Optrel offers a full range of innovative, cutting edge designed specifically to provide the best protections and solutions to welders needs worldwide.

All over the world, welders have asked and Optrel has listened and provided solutions. Optrel innovations protect customers in many different industries such as automotive, shipbuilding, oil and gas, chemical/petrochemical, metal fabrication, energy fabrication, construction and engineering, maintenance, art, d-i-y and leisure activities.

Optrel’s brand new Panoramaxx helmet is the most innovative and ergonomic helmet available on the market to date, and represents a ‘step change’ in the level of comfort, visibility and function for the welding industry. The Panoramaxx helmets unique lens design offers a massive expansion of the field of view for the welder, up to six times that of most other helmets on the market. This is achieved by a unique and patented design allowing the lens to be positioned in close proximity to the eyes. This large increase in visibility is achieved while also increasing comfort levels and decreasing the weight to extremely low levels using cutting edge materials and technology. The light state of 2.5, which is a world first combined with the expansive viewing area makes it feel like looking out a large window at an expansive landscape.

Contact Optrel now for a free demonstration and to experience the difference. Welders asked, Optrel listened.

The true colour optics opens an entirely new visual dimension, allowing welders to see the full colour spectrum and realistic colour renditions in all environments. Professional welder worldwide are posting rave reviews after experiencing the brightness, clarity and expansive vision. Optrel’s Vegaview 2.5 helmet also offers the 2.5 super light shade in open state, improving the welders view by up to 400% versus other helmets with an open light state of 4.0.

The new E684 welding helmet from Optrel continues the innovation, and closes the gap between man and machine, so that both can perform at their best and maximise speed and efficiency. The revolutionary “Autopilot” function included on the E684 is based on a newly developed sensor concept, which measures the brightness of the welding arc and automatically adjusts the shade level.

Now welders can concentrate fully on their work without interrupting the welding process, even when the welding parameters change. The result is outstanding productivity without compromising quality and concentration. The e684 is the only fully automated welding helmet with protection level 5 to 13 on the market and it pushes conventional auto darkening welding helmets into the realm of semi-automated protection gear. In addition, the e684 boasts further innovations that make it a must-have for any professional welder.

The Optrel premium PAPR systems, which have been designed from the ground up for welders, are optimised to work in conjunction with the whole range of Optrel helmets. The long working times, unique safety alerts and on board visual indicators ensures that the welder has the ultimate protection, yet can work with total freedom and minimum of additional weight.

In conclusion, for sure, all ‘auto darkening’ helmets change from a light state to a dark state when they sense an arc, but that is where the similarity ends. And in some cases, the difference is very scary. By investing less than a week’s wage in an Optrel helmet, you can prove the massive comfort gains, increased protection levels and efficiencies that 100’s of thousands of discerning welders worldwide are enjoying.

The post Welcome To A New Dimension Of Welding And A New Best Friend appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

UC Engineers Develop In-Situ Damage Detection For Building Steel

Dr Giuseppe Loporcaro

An award-winning, pioneering technique for assessing earthquake damage to steel in buildings or bridges will allow engineers to give faster, more reliable information to engineers, with tangible flow-on results for insurers and building owners.

After the major Christchurch earthquakes, many steel-reinforced concrete buildings were deemed irreparable and demolished due to lack of information about the extent of damage to building materials. Often, disagreements between building owners and insurers continued for extended periods.

New University of Canterbury (UC) research may help to resolve these issues. Architectural Engineering lecturer Dr Giuseppe Loporcaro and Mechanical Engineering Professor Milo Kral’s research into a new technique for assessing damage to steel rebars (the steel reinforcing rods contained within concrete slabs of substantial buildings) has been awarded $20,000 in UC’s annual Tech Jumpstart competition.

Dr Loporcaro says earthquakes are unavoidable natural events, but when they occur in urbanised areas they can cause excessive damage. If this damage is not detected immediately, it extends the recovery phase.

Steel rebars are built to stretch during severe shaking, enabling the concrete they are housed in to crack while the rebars remain intact. This work determines how much the rebar has already stretched and how much capacity it still has before breaking if further shaking occurs.

Their method enables engineers to test the rebars on site rather than in a lab – a lengthier and more costly process. The other advantage of their method is more reliable results.

“Disruptions cost time and money, as well as impacting the entire community,” Dr Loporcaro says.

“The in-situ damage detection method aims to speed the assessment phase, and consequently reduce the impact on the community in terms of disruption, down-time and costs for repair and/or demolition.

“It will also allow information to reach owners and insurance companies more quickly, so issues can be resolved in better time.”

The researchers will use the award to take their innovative research towards commercial reality.

The post UC Engineers Develop In-Situ Damage Detection For Building Steel appeared first on NZ Engineering News.



The first industrial revolution started with the development steam engine. It took place from the 1760’s until the 1840’s and included going from hand production to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron processes, increase of the usage of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of factory systems.

The next steps were Industry 2.0 with the introduction of the production line, technological electrification, mass production and the start of globalisation.

Industry 3.0 brought us the internet, digital manufacturing and the moves towards automation and robots.

With Industry 4.0, the next step of the industrial revolution is now knocking on our doors. But what is the hype all about?

Smart Factory, Cyber physical Systems, Internet of Things… what is all of that and what does it mean for you? Forbes magazine provides an overview in its article ( from the 20. June 2016 ‘What Everyone Must Know About Industry 4.0’ but as for a quick snapshot Industry 4.0 must include a few critical components. 

For a factory or system to be considered Industry 4.0, it must include:

  • Interoperability — machines, devices, sensors and people that connect and communicate with one another.

  • Information transparency — the systems create a virtual copy of the physical world through sensor data in order to contextualise information.

  • Technical assistance — both the ability of the systems to support humans in making decisions and solving problems and the ability to assist humans with tasks that are too difficult or unsafe for humans.

  • Decentralised decision-making — the ability of cyber-physical systems to make simple decisions on their own and become as autonomous as possible.

With every opportunity there are challenges and the Forbes magazine outlines them in its article. One of the challenges coming along is the lack of experience and manpower to create and implement these systems.

To support customers on this journey, Amada has taken the next step and joined the Industrial 4.0 movement. Amada V-Factory supports systems like the visualisation of factory production. Machine and job status, create or adjust schedules to guarantee in time delivery and match actual production are just some of the capabilities that V-Factory provides, and all available on your mobile device so the information is never more than a fingertip away.

Furthermore, with V-Factory your machines will be monitored with the aim to reduce down time or if necessary have scheduled down time. Things like parts shipping and onsite services can be organised before down time occurs.

The question, then, is not if Industry 4.0 is coming, but how quickly? As with big data and other business trends, early adopters will be rewarded for their courage jumping into this new technology, and those who avoid change risk becoming irrelevant and left behind.

For more information around Amada’s V-Factory, go and see AM PROM at EMEX 2018, where Am Prom will be presenting this, and more.

The post INDUSTRY 4.0 – THE NEXT STEP appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Why A Highly-Skilled Workforce Is Critical For Success

Ensuring staff have the right skills now and in the future is vital for the sustainability, productivity and global competitiveness of New Zealand’s engineering industry.

Fiona Kingsford, chief executive of industry training organisation Competenz, says industrial changes, innovations and automation are changing the number and types of jobs in New Zealand and, more critically, the sort of knowledge and skills people in the industry need to develop.

“We know that unqualified and low-skilled positions are predicted to have the highest probability of replacement by computerisation or machines. It’s challenging to keep up with the changes, let alone anticipate the workforce requirements to respond.

“While employers may not be able to protect jobs from automation, we can collectively be responsible for protecting our people and preparing them for change through ongoing training and reskilling.”

Infometrics data shows that 23,553 people were employed in mechanical engineering sector in 2016, which is 1.8% higher than 2015. Of those, 4,904 were medium to high-skilled professionals, 18,445 were medium-skilled technicians and trades workers, and 205 were low-skilled labourers.

“Through our ongoing dialogue with businesses, there is concern within the mechanical engineering sector about the lack of team leaders and tradespeople who possess managerial skills,” Kingsford says. “This is highly-relevant to workforce development as research consistently highlights that there is a link between quality of management and the productivity of the business.”

Competenz works with more than 3,500 companies around New Zealand and more than 26,000 trainees and apprentices – 4,200 of those in the engineering sector.

“Working with so many engineering firms we gain valuable insight into the workforce challenges people are facing every day,” Kingsford says.

“Because we know the engineering industry really well, we can design workforce development solutions to help businesses realise both immediate and long-term gains.”


Recruit top talent at EMEX

Competenz is teaming up with the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) to match employers with keen young jobseekers at EMEX.

Engineering and manufacturing companies looking for new recruits will be paired up with secondary school pupils and students who have undertaken trades training at MIT. After a series of six-minute, one-on-one interviews, the employers and students each decide if they want to find out more about each other, and job opportunities may arise.

“If you’re looking for new staff, this is a great opportunity to meet talented and motivated young people ready to start their career,” Kingsford says.

Twelve of the engineering qualifications Competenz offers are eligible for the government’s new Fees-Free policy. This means the costs usually paid by employers, apprentices and trainees in the first two years will be now be free for some people.


Talk to Competenz at EMEX

 Competenz staff will be at EMEX to discuss apprenticeships, training and workforce development solutions. See them at the Employment and Training Hub.

 If you’re an employer looking to meet jobseekers at EMEX, register your interest today at

The post Why A Highly-Skilled Workforce Is Critical For Success appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Metro Aerospace Introduces 3D Printed Part for Fuel Efficiency in Aerospace

SLS 3D printed aerospace parts can provide a fuel savings of 4% at cruise with improved aerodynamics and reduced drag

In the aerospace industry, the slightest design improvement can have a staggering impact on the efficiency of flight, which is why aerospace manufacturers dedicate tremendous time and talent to advanced engineering. Sometimes small modifications pay off big time, as is the case with the new 3D printed microvanes, a drag-reduction and performance enhancement technology recently commercialized by Texas minority-owned business Metro Aerospace. Developed for the C-130/L-100 aircraft, the microvanes are adhesively fastened on both sides of an aircraft’s fuselage and are designed to reduce drag by reshaping airflow around the aft cargo door.

3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing team helped Metro Aerospace take the microvanes from a prototype into a production part with uncommon speed. Offering production support at any stage of product development, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing experts deliver quick, high quality parts ranging from fast turn and advanced prototypes to appearance models and low volume production. Using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and DuraForm® GF, a glass-filled nylon, 3D Systems’ On Demand team in Tulsa, OK, worked closely with Metro Aerospace to successfully complete a first article inspection report. This validated that all manufacturing requirements and part specifications were executed exactly as prescribed on qualified SLS machines.

3D printed part reduces drag, introduces savings

Delivered in ship sets of 20, the 3D printed microvanes are each about 10 inches long and each one different. According to Metro Aerospace, these additively manufactured and carefully engineered attachments can reduce total drag by approximately 15 points. The company further indicates that the simple incorporation of these structures can lower fuel consumption by approximately 25 to 30 gallons per hour while also providing significant reduction on inboard engine wear. Though micro in size and name, this is a major impact for such a minor modification.

For commercial aircraft, the SLS printed microvanes mean a desirable improvement in fuel economy, and for military aircraft they provide the added benefit of extended time on mission and additional payload capacity, tremendous advantages to each respective use. The microvanes can be installed on new aircraft or easily retrofitted on existing without any structural modifications and produce no operational impact apart from the desired drag reduction.

Leslie Peters, President and CEO of Metro Aerospace, says purchase and installation of the microvanes can deliver a return on investment in under a year based on achievable fuel savings.

Combined with this rapid ROI, the ease of installation and minimal aircraft downtime make the microvanes an incredibly cost effective improvement to large cargo aircraft. For Metro Aerospace, using 3D printing for production and working with 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing team has enabled a compelling business model to free the start up from stocking parts while still enabling quick and high quality order fulfillment.

3D printing expertise for production confidence

Metro Aerospace chose 3D Systems as its on demand manufacturing partner based on the company’s expertise and leading technology in the additive manufacturing space as well as with the microvanes themselves.

“Additive manufacturing is fairly new, and it’s very new in aerospace for high volume exterior aircraft components,” says Peters. In order to quickly transition the microvane from a prototype to production parts, Metro Aerospace relied on 3D Systems’ familiarity with the aerospace industry and exposure to the microvane design that it gathered from working through the prototyping phase.

Peters is quick to point out that transitioning from a prototype to a final product is not always straightforward, especially in the aerospace industry. “Going from prototyping to production is not as easy as people think,” she says. “It’s not just turnkey. There’s a lot more involved.”

The final 3D printed microvanes had to meet all of the rigorous standards outlined by the engineers who designed them, as well as undergo a first article inspection and report (FAIR) with thorough documentation, as is commonplace in the aerospace industry. 3D Systems and Metro Aerospace worked closely throughout the process to ensure that every detail was minded and met with full attention and care, starting with printer qualification and material testing through to part labeling, finishing and shipping. The two companies also partnered to meticulously record a process control document and verification to satisfy the stringent requirements of delivering a new product within such a highly regulated space.

According to Peters, the speed at which everything was achieved by working with 3D Systems was exceptional. “Sometimes a FAIR will take six months alone before you can even start your manufacturing, but within three to four months we were approved and shipping product for a foreign military,” she says. “In terms of speed to market in aerospace, that’s very, very fast.”

Proven experience in aerospace

3D Systems brought a high level of experience and qualifications to the table to make production 3D printing possible within a tight timeframe. ITAR and AS9100 certified, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing facility in Tulsa, OK, had proven through its high quality prototyping work that it could also be confidently trusted to deliver an accurate final product at production volumes.

Producing quality aerospace parts is an involved undertaking using any manufacturing technique, and 3D printing is no different. 3D Systems’ team worked closely with Metro Aerospace to qualify the SLS production machines, conduct tensile and density testing on the material both in-house and through a third party, and follow the microvane finishing protocol to the letter. 3D Systems ticked all the boxes for Metro Aerospace to get off the ground successfully. “You need special equipment, you need special rooms and you need a company that is qualified in managing the whole process as well as the product,” Peters says.

With proper documentation and processes in place, fulfilling orders with 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing is streamlined and efficient, allowing Metro Aerospace to quickly answer the needs of its customers.

3D printing production capacity and attentive service

Speed to market was an important factor for Metro Aerospace, and the facilities and capacity available through 3D Systems were integral in making quick delivery possible. From beginning to end, 3D Systems’ on demand team was fully committed to Metro Aerospace with an open and transparent line of communication to facilitate part quality and production expediency.

“They’re really dedicated, hardworking folks,” Peters says of 3D Systems’ production specialists. “They even worked weekends for us when we needed to get something done.”

The successful implementation of the SLS printed microvanes has given way to further explorations in 3D printing for Metro Aerospace in the form of microvane installation fixtures. Engineered to foolproof microvane attachment, Peters is again working with 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing team to bring this component to market after her company’s positive experience throughout microvane production.

Whether you need fast turn 3D printed parts, advanced prototyping with assembly and finishing services or low volume manufacturing including CNC, urethane casting and injection tooling, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing services can help advance your project, timeline and goals.

Contact our in-house experts for more information on our complete On Demand Manufacturing services.

The post Metro Aerospace Introduces 3D Printed Part for Fuel Efficiency in Aerospace appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Robotics Lead The Charge At Kiwi Lock Maker

Relatively high labour costs and geographic remoteness mean that to remain competitive on an international scale, manufacturing companies in New Zealand need to deliver products to market faster, with the highest level of quality, while keeping costs down.

Relatively high labour costs and geographic remoteness mean that to remain competitive on an international scale, manufacturing companies in New Zealand need to deliver products to market faster, with the highest level of quality, while keeping costs down.

Such was the case for Assa Abloy, described as the global leader in door and window opening solutions. Looking to increase output and ensure delivery on its promise of two-day lead time, as well as solve an employee health and safety challenge, Assa Abloy NZ deployed Universal Robots’ UR5 collaborative robot arm. The UR5 performs repetitive tasks such as picking, packing and screwing on the company’s Auckland lock bodies production line.

The UR5 has automated key manufacturing processes, such as the picking and placing of screws, relieving employees of repetitive tasks and ensuring a smooth production flow. Since the installation of the UR5, Assa Abloy NZ says that it has seen improvements in productivity, quality and most importantly, employee health and safety.


The New Zealand operation is part of Assa Abloy’s global business which specialises in door opening solutions and has been servicing the market for more than 50 years.

To kick off the industrial robot selection process, Assa Abloy brought three different robotic arm suppliers onsite and evaluated each one while they performed the same activities.

“The scalability and easy programming of the UR5 was unmatched. It also offered the flexibility to perform the varied tasks we needed at an affordable price,” says Marc Simkin, manufacturing engineer manager, Assa Abloy NZ.

He says ease-of-use is a key benefit delivered by Universal Robots, with flagship features such as easy programming. A graphical user interface with a ‘teach’ function enables an operator to show the robot arm how a movement should be performed. The user-friendly interface allows staff to drag and drop the routines to automate programming. This means the UR5 can be reprogrammed and deployed for different tasks within minutes without prior knowledge on programming or robotic engineering.

Assa Abloy engaged Design Energy, a distributor for Universal Robots, to help integrate the UR5 and train the manufacturing team on how to advance the UR5 on the production line.

“We even decided to have a bit of fun – the lock bodies team had a naming competition and we named the UR5 ‘Victoria’. With this, Victoria becomes one of us – she’s like another co-worker,” says Simkin.


Assa Abloy’s initial reason for implementing an automated solution was to relieve production staff from the “onerous physical tasks of assembling locks and screwing face plates”. But the company says that in contrast to traditional robotic solutions, Universal Robots’ small and lightweight robotic arms actually work safely alongside staff (subject to risk assessment).

The UR5’s state-of-the-art force limit safety feature automatically prevents the robot from operating when movement is interrupted. The UR5 doesn’t exert a force greater than the limit specified in the adjustable safety settings, which can be set from 100-250 newtons.

Prior to deploying the UR5, operational staff were rotated every two hours, due to the demands of repetitive wrist and shoulder movements. By automating the final step on the lock bodies production line, the UR5 has relieved operators of work hazards. Knowing that, employees can work in very close proximity to the UR5 without safety guarding.

Staff reaction to Victoria has been extremely positive and they have upskilled as a result of ‘cobot’ integration. New roles are being created for the team which are more focused on quality and process monitoring of material supply, compared to the role of a traditional assembly worker.

“We’re so pleased to see the team’s sense of pride in the new skills they’ve developed as a result of operating Victoria. Permanent staff have taken on the responsibility of mentoring temporary staff on how to work with Victoria,” says Mataio Goding, production manager, Assa Abloy NZ.


Assa Abloy NZ says that the UR5 ensures there’s no variation during the final assembly stage, improving consistency of its product.

The UR5 enables the company to deliver on its operational strategy of ‘any colour, any key, any time’ – producing any key or lock, in any colour – with a two-day turnaround. This provides a competitive advantage with automation traditionally and previously only relevant for large scale production.

“We have seen improvement in quality as a result of a more consistent assembly process,” says Goding.

Automating repetitive tasks and improved consistency of output means less time and resources are required on the production line. The company says that staff can be redeployed into more value-added tasks, driving efficiency across the business. It expects to see a cost saving within the next 12 months, which will pay for the UR5.

Based on the success of Victoria’s installation and commissioning, Assa Abloy NZ is developing another process that involves two UR5s producing door hinges, with 22 different variants of product.

“Our traditional approach to automation wasn’t cost effective for our manufacturing environment and it was hard to justify. New cobot technology like Universal Robots has opened the door for us to apply this technology in areas we previously thought impossible,” says Simkin.

Assa Abloy is automating not just for the now, but setting itself up for the future where staff and robots intertwine within production processes.

The company is proof of pudding that robots are no longer relegated to simply mass scale production processes, nor is New Zealand any different to what manufacturers throughout the world are and should be implementing.

Times are changing, and Assa Abloy NZ has changed with them – for the good.



Assa Abloy is a global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security, safety and convenience. Since its formation in 1994, Assa Abloy has grown from a regional company into an international group with about 47,000 employees, operations in more than 70 countries and sales of SEK 71 billion. In the fast-growing electromechanical security segment, the Group has a leading position in areas such as access control, identification technology, entrance automation and hotel security.



Design Energy is a New Zealand business which specialises in the development and commissioning of equipment solutions which solve problems, deliver productivity gains and enhance its customers’ business. Founded in 2007, Design Energy handles everything from process engineering consultation to machine design, through to the supply and service of full turn-key systems. Design Energy partnered with Universal Robots to deliver quality robotic and automation solutions to some of the country’s leading producers and manufacturers. 

The post Robotics Lead The Charge At Kiwi Lock Maker appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Jay Leno’s Garage Achieves Antique Car Replacement Part for One-Tenth the Cost with 3D Systems’ Solutions

Jay Leno's 1916 Owen Magnetic was one of the first-ever commercially available gas-electric hybrid cars

Jay Leno’s 1916 Owen Magnetic was one of the first-ever commercially available gas-electric hybrid cars

Jay Leno will be the first to tell you that embracing old cars does not mean embracing old technology. In fact, Leno’s love for old cars has encouraged the exploration of new technology in order to keep his priceless collection of vehicles in working order, as was the case with his recently restored 1916 Owen Magnetic. With over a century’s worth of corrosion on the valve cover of Leno’s antique hybrid car, the former host of The Tonight Show and current star of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC needed a replacement part that would perform as well as, if not better than, the original without breaking the bank. A repeat customer and collaborator of 3D Systems, Leno’s team used a digital workflow to reverse engineer a new and improved valve cover before sending the part to 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing for a 3D printed investment casting pattern. In the end, 3D Systems’ end-to-end manufacturing solutions helped Leno’s team replace the dilapidated valve cover for one-tenth the cost of traditional methods.

A 100-Year-Old Vehicle

The challenge of maintaining old cars typically presents itself well before the vehicle reaches its one-hundredth birthday. After a few decades, replacement parts become scarce and part prices increase accordingly. Given the difficulty and expense of repairs, cars that survive a full century are typically relegated to museums and private collections where they transition into a stationary thing of beauty. As a diehard car enthusiast, however, Jay Leno was determined that this would not be the fate of his 1916 Owen Magnetic, which was one of the first-ever commercially available gas-electric hybrid cars.

In order to keep his Owen Magnetic’s wheels in motion, Leno and his team had a distinct challenge to overcome. “When we began renovation, the valve cover, which provides a passageway for the engine coolant, looked like a piece of Swiss cheese,” Leno said. “You can’t find one of these in a junkyard, and from looking at the original part there is evidence of previous failed attempts to fix it with everything from Elmer’s Glue to JB Weld.”

3D scanning into Geomagic Design X to create an accurate CAD model

3D scanning into Geomagic Design X to create an accurate CAD model

Reverse Engineering the Manifold Cover

The task of finding a better solution for the valve cover repair fell to Jim Hall, Leno’s Chief Engineer. No stranger to challenging custom car repair jobs, Hall stays current with the technologies at his disposal and was well on his way to a solution in a matter of hours. “Since fixing the original valve cover was not a realistic option for us, my approach was to enhance the original part with help from some new technologies,” said Hall.

The reverse engineering workflow started with 3D scanning the original valve cover using a FARO® Design ScanArm into Geomagic Design X™ reverse engineering software. Unlike red laser line scanners, blue laser line scanners are able to scan both the black and polished surfaces on the original part in a single pass. The point cloud data was then sent to 3D Systems’ 3D Modeling Services team for help transforming the 3D scan data into a final CAD model.

3D Systems’ technicians worked with Hall to improve the performance and aesthetics of the original part while maintaining the handmade authenticity of a one-hundred-year-old casting. Many of the final updates were made possible due to the unique toolsets of Geomagic Design X which allowed 3D Systems’ technicians to replace the corroded and pitted topography of the original part with smooth surfaces while cleanly extracting design elements to enhance the final appearance.

For example, the name “Owen Magnetic” is raised on the exterior of the valve cover in letters of decreasing size designed to fit within boundary lines above and below the text. In the original design, the letters were likely produced by hand-cutting them out of a wax sheet and attaching them to the master wax pattern. As a result, the text on the original part had many imperfections, both on individual letters and in the general alignment of the letters within the boundary lines. Hall asked 3D Systems to help maintain the authenticity of the imperfect letters while correcting the alignment. 3D Systems technicians did just that and mapped the handmade imperfections along new and improved defining lines to give the final part a more polished look than the original.

Functionally, the 3D Systems team also worked with Hall to redesign features on the part’s interior that had been heavily eroded. Following Hall’s requests, 3D Systems’ technicians thickened several structural features and widened their connections to help make them more resistant to erosion. Finally, the technicians added a few millimeters to the manifold mounting surface to accommodate a subsequent face milling operation to provide a smooth surface for the gasket to seal against and prevent coolant leakage.

SLA QuickCast pattern printed by 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing and cast in aluminium

SLA QuickCast pattern printed by 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing and cast in aluminium

3D Printing the Investment Casting Pattern

Once the valve cover design was ready, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing team exported a solid model from Geomagic Design X and opened it in 3D Systems 3D Sprint™ additive manufacturing software. Using 3D Sprint’s set of advanced mesh creation and editing tools, they converted the solid model into a detailed mesh and then scaled it to account for the shrink factor of the metal alloy it would be cast in. 3D Systems’ technicians then set up the print to build as a stereolithography (SLA) QuickCast® pattern. QuickCast patterns are designed specifically for investment casting and are primarily hollow builds that contain an internal network of hexagonal support structures. A hollow build reduces the amount of material required and the internal geometry of QuickCast patterns facilitates drainage and burn out. Final printing was done on a 3D Systems ProX® SLA 800 printer with Accura® CastPro™ resin.

“Our SLA 3D printing offers the highest accuracy of any 3D printing process,” said Cyle Caplinger, Regional Sales Manager for 3D Systems. “Since our SLA support structures can be torn away rather than dissolved, 3D Systems SLA requires minimal post-processing and produces an excellent surface finish which results in impeccable casting patterns.” In fact, Caplinger says the investment casting foundry was so impressed with the quality of 3D Systems’ QuickCast pattern that they asked for another pattern to submit to an international casting competition after delivering the final manifold for the Owen Magnetic.

Once 3D printed, the QuickCast investment casting pattern was delivered to SeaCast, Inc., a foundry in the Pacific Northwest. SeaCast used the 3D printed casting pattern to form a mold for aluminum casting, which was then cast and shipped to Jay Leno’s Garage for final finishing and fitting.

Jay Leno's 1916 Owen Magnetic is good to go for another hundred years

Jay Leno’s 1916 Owen Magnetic is good to go for another hundred years

Good for Another 100 Years

After performing the prescribed face-milling, drilling, painting and polishing, Hall installed the replacement valve cover in its rightful place on top of the Owen Magnetic’s Buda engine.

According to Leno, it works perfectly. “That’s the great thing about this kind of technology,” Leno said. “Parts are no longer lost to time. We’re ready to go for another hundred years.”

Are you looking to bring more efficiency into your automotive restoration process? Contact 3D Systems today to learn more.

The post Jay Leno’s Garage Achieves Antique Car Replacement Part for One-Tenth the Cost with 3D Systems’ Solutions appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

3D Printed Casting Patterns Deliver Efficient Solution for Metal Parts Production

Investment casting patterns delivered faster and more affordably with 3D printing.

As one of the oldest-known metal forming techniques, investment casting remains an effective manufacturing methodology many centuries after its introduction. Investment casting begins with a pattern, around which a ceramic shell is formed through a dipping and firing process. The firing process removes the initial pattern, leaving behind an empty vessel for metal pouring. Also known as a sacrificial pattern, the ceramic shell is broken away once the metal has cooled, leaving behind a final metal part.

The investment casting process works with an incredibly diverse range of metals, and the end results are geometrically precise to the mold that shapes them. When all is said and done, it’s an incredibly useful technique, but traditional methods to acquire the casting pattern are not always the most time- or cost-effective.

As the origin point of the process, the investment casting pattern is of primary importance. Traditionally, this pattern is achieved using wax tooling, which can take several weeks or months and upwards of tens of thousands of dollars to produce. For certain applications this can be a worthwhile trade off if speed-to-market is not critical or if a high quantity of final parts can justify the expense of tooling. If these criteria are not met, however, the logistical barriers to pattern creation have typically ruled out the process until the arrival of compatible 3D printing materials and methodologies.

3D printing now offers a smart option for low volume investment casting, bridge tooling and risk mitigation throughout design. 3D Systems offers both wax and resin materials for investment casting applications that dramatically reduce metal part production costs with overnight delivery speeds. Savvy industrial part manufacturers, jewellers and foundries have been quick to catch on, and many have already acquired stereolithography (SLA) or MultiJet (MJP) Wax printers of their own to deliver high quality 3D printed investment casting patterns faster and more affordably.

In direct comparisons between traditional investment casting patterns and 3D printed ones, customers have saved anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 per part and shaved substantial time from the process. 3D printed investment casting patterns offer additional benefits such as the ability to make more complex and functionally efficient patterns that cannot be produced using conventional tooling. The high surface quality of 3D Systems’ printing technologies also helps reduce post-processing requirements for increased efficiency downstream.

To learn more about our investment casting solutions, get in touch with a 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing expert today to discuss your project requirements.


3D Systems, On Demand Manufacturing

5 Lynch St, Hawthorn, Vic 3122 Australia

+61 3 9819 4422



The post 3D Printed Casting Patterns Deliver Efficient Solution for Metal Parts Production appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Urgent attention needed to look at automation impact

automationAutomation, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation issues facing the country could become threats, leading to increased social and economic difficulties and a strain on government resources unless they are immediately addressed, New Zealand’s tech leader say.

The TechLeaders executive has only recently just been formed because New Zealand is facing unprecedented growth and change in tech, which is now the nation’s fastest growing sector.

TechLeaders from some of New Zealand’s biggest companies and organisations has been set up with the support of NZTech and is a group of New Zealand tech, digital and ICT focused-executives from leading organisations.

They have just met in Auckland and all agreed AI and other digital changes will greatly impact on many of today’s jobs in coming years, as well as the income of many Kiwi families, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

“Automation will change just about every industry in New Zealand and over the next few years rapidly change the number and type of jobs available. If we act now to prepare the New Zealand workforce for these changes it may provide opportunities.

“If left unaddressed these opportunities will turn to challenges and potential threats leading to increased social and economic difficulties and a strain on government resources.

“The TechLeaders discussed how we can help prepare New Zealand’s future workforce. Being at the forefront of technology change these senior executives have insight into the pace of change and see critical elements in ensuring Kiwi families all have jobs in the future.

“We need to ensure that our education system is developing the skills needed for a future workforce, in particular, an understanding of digital technologies and collaborative working practices.

“We need to start developing policy and a national shared purpose around how to re-train or upskill current employees who work in jobs that may change or disappear rapidly due to technology.

“Through the discussion a number of ways were identified where technology leaders and industry could play an active role in helping secure the future of work for Kiwis. We must bring a stronger connection with education to help prepare students, support teachers and support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum.

“And we need to work with government to help reshape the national conversation away from the robots are taking my jobs to a more positive view that encourages upskilling.”

TechLeaders chair David Kennedy says they have a responsibility as industry leaders to prepare future generations for what tomorrow holds.

“We are well placed people to help tackle the difficult questions that need to be addressed to ensure future work for generations of Kiwis,” Mr Kennedy says.

“We all agree that tech leaders and industry have a role and responsibility to guide and support initiatives to retrain people for the new skills paradigm brought on by technological change. The development of the next generation of workers is also critical.”

Among a series of recommendations, the leaders want to reduce fear-inducing messaging about everyone losing their jobs and robots taking over.

The post Urgent attention needed to look at automation impact appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


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