#LoveMySafranJob:" 3D printing is a great way to improve any business through innovative design, cost savings, and turnaround time"
Manufacturing Day – celebrated on the first Friday in October – is an opportunity to inspire the next generation about the industry and careers in modern manufacturing. In honor of this observance, we are spotlighting David Loe, an Equipment Engineering Specialist at Safran Electrical & Power in Denton, Texas.
David developed a 3D print management database by the knowledge he initially gained while working at an electronics store. This project was a real success, having led to a 25% increase in implementation of 3D printing at the Denton site, and a reduction in the time needed to implement and update designs for engineers.
Tell us about your work in 3D printing: why and how you started, what was your training etc.?
My original introduction to 3D printing was at RadioShack in 2013, when we started selling an “Afinia” branded 3D printer. I was immediately drawn in, and began experimenting with the technology.
How did the 3D print management database project come about at Safran Electrical & Power?
As 3D printing became more and more viable for manufacturing aids, our catalog of designs began to balloon in size. We had a small list of designs, (which even was physically printed in a binder at one point), but the application we were using was very quickly becoming inadequate. We realized there was a need for a more robust application that would benefit both the designers and the users.
“3D printing is a great way to improve any business through innovative design, cost savings, and turnaround time.”
How did you manage the project?
I worked with a great team of engineers and managers to effectively pinpoint our current implementation of 3D printing, and brainstorm potential future needs for the business. Together, we analyzed our costs, benefits, and areas for growth within the 3D printing environment.
Were you able to measure the benefits of the 3D print management database after its introduction?
We’ve determined that 3D printing was saving our facility over $300,000 a year in cost avoidance. These savings are achieved through avoidance of tool and part costs, customer rework charges, and external manufacturing costs.
The project was a success, both by increasing our 3D printing implementation by over 25% throughout the facility, and by reducing the time needed to implement and update designs for our engineers.
The 3D print management database’s user-friendly interface allows every employee – from production associates to program managers – to easily view, search, and request 3D printing designs. We have received more requests for 3D printed solutions than ever before.
What types of parts are manufactured using 3D printing?
Almost anything! The best part of 3D printing is the innate ability to create anything you can imagine. The cost of material is extremely low, and the turnaround time for new designs and revisions is very high. We have hundreds of tool mounts, connector holders, clocking validators, ergonomic aids, potting molds, test fixtures, and even completely original tools for manufacturing processes.
What is the next project that you are excited about?
I am creating a new contact retention-testing tool that should help with defect avoidance across the facility.
“Working at Safran Electrical & Power, I appreciate being able to find, suggest, and implement creative solutions for various manufacturing processes without receiving undue pushback from management.”
What advice would you offer to students who are interested in a career in manufacturing?
Manufacturing is a wide enough field that you can find a space to do almost anything you are interested in. Whether it be management, engineering, support, or production, there is always a need, and there is always room for new ideas.