How 3D Systems’ AM Solutions Enabled Rapid Application Group to Double Capacity and Accelerate Mission-Critical Production

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Oklahoma-based Rapid Application Group (RAG), a small additive manufacturing (AM) firm owned by a disabled veteran has been able to double its production capacity and throughput after it incorporated Figure 4 Standalone 3D Printer from 3D Systems.

In an official release, 3D Systems revealed that by using the company’s Figure 4 – industry-leading 3D printer has allowed Rapid Application Group was able to support mission critical and time-sensitive operations for customers operating in a variety of industries such as Aerospace, Defense, Healthcare, Motorsports and Oil & Gas.

RAG’s Journey with 3D Systems So Far

Rapid Application Group first collaborated with 3D Systems two years ago when it increased its capabilities by adding two 3D Systems SPro 60HD-HS SLS 3D printers and used 3D Systems On Demand stereolithography (SLA), Direct Metal Printing (DMP) and Multijet Printing (MJP) services. In the last one year, Rapid Application Group registered a growth of 300%.

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Above: The 3D Systems’ sPro 60 HD-HS SLS 3D printer/Image Credit: 3D Systems

However, Rapid Application Group transformed its operations when it incorporated the Figure 4 Standalone 3D printer in August 2018. For instance, Rapid Application Group was able to double its capacity and reduce its time-to-print process by nearly 90% or from seven hours to just 45 minutes immediately after it incorporated the Figure 4 Standalone 3D Printer from 3D Systems.

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Above: The Figure 4 Standalone 3D Printer from 3D Systems/Image credit: 3D Sytems

What is Figure 4?

Figure 4 is 3D Systems’ additive production platform and industry’s first scalable, fully-integrated factory solution for direct 3D production, which accelerates and simplifies the fabrication of plastic parts with high speed digital molding, while at the same time produces the same accuracy, reliability and repeatability offered by traditional injection molding.

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Above: 3D Systems Figure 4 Production Platform/Image Credit: 3D Systems

Invented by 3D Systems’ Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Chuck Hull, Figure 4 is a combination of production-grade materials and ultra-fast print technology, which enables 15 times throughput improvements when compared with competitive offerings and at 20% less cost than existing manufacturing processes.

Praising the Figure 4 Standalone 3D Printer, Terry Hill, Owner and CEO at Rapid Application Group said, “The Figure 4 Standalone – including 3D Sprint®– truly delivers as promised with outstanding ease-of-use, six sigma repeatability of production parts, and incredible speed.”

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Image Credit: 3D Systems

“The robust materials and injection-molding-quality surface finish, combined with very quick print times, have helped us double our capacity and throughput. We have already achieved full ROI with this one, remarkable 3D printer,” added Hill.

The production transformation of Rapid Application Group is another testimony of how 3D Systems works with customers and helps them to implement innovative solutions and reduce costs as well as cycle times without compromising productivity.

Explaining about the company’s strategy with respect to helping customers, Phil Schultz, Senior Vice President, General Manager, on demand and plastics at 3D Systems said, “3D Systems partners with customers, delivering 3D printing solutions to not only transform their manufacturing environment, but helping them grow their business and maintain competitive advantage”.

“No matter the size and scope of a business, additive manufacturing can have an everlasting, positive impact on its end-users in more ways than one. It’s a true honor to see our solutions play a multipurpose role at Rapid Application Group,” adds Schultz.

Giving Back to the Community

Using 3D Systems’ technologies have also provided an opportunity to Rapid Application Group to give back to the community. For instance, Owner Terry Hill runs a series of additive manufacturing courses for high school students, helping them learn the fundamentals of workflows supporting the end-to-end production of 3D-printed parts.

He’s also helping disabled veterans through a new ‘Veterans to Additive’ program – a standardized certification course that trains veterans on the additive manufacturing process. Terry is not only utilizing 3D printing to positively impact disabled veterans, he is also conducting prosthetics research and prototyping to support disabled service animals.

Future Plans

Rapid Application Group is also partnering with 3D Systems’ team to provide investment casting patterns using the new ProJet® MJP 2500 IC, which the company intends to bring in-house next year.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Case Studies page for more interesting 3D Printing Case Studies. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.

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