Exalto cuts production time by 60% using Tractus3D printers
“In-house printed parts can cost as much as 3-5 times less.”
Exalto may not look like a global brand, but appearances can be deceiving and still waters run deep. In fact, Exalto products are quietly making their way to every corner of the world. The team is made up of level-headed, hard-working professionals. Not prone to big talk or silly antics, their feet are planted firmly on the ground. So this might not be the first place you would expect to find a 3D printer – or is it?
Challenge and solution
3D printing at Exalto
Exalto Wipers – one of three divisions, alongside Propulsion and Parts – is a household name in market sectors that require windshield wipers. Legions of ships and trains rely on Exalto windshield wipers. The secret to their success is the product quality and responsiveness to customer needs. Customer involvement in the project has really been crucial for this product. “A train with a broken wiper is not allowed to leave the station and every part of a boat has to be made so that it can withstand the harshest conditions.” That is precisely why the engineering department plays such a central role at Exalto. In 2016, a Tractus3D T850 delta printer was brought in to reinforce the team.
Production time is cut by 60%
Exalto is a great example of what remarkable things can happen when in-house innovators are given a free hand. In no time, Exalto had recorded a world first. “We were working on the development of a rain sensor for train windows. In the first week that we had the printer, we were able to produce 12 prototypes of the key component for this innovation. Normally, that would take us more than half a year. This rain sensor for trains is the first in the world and, as we speak, it’s already being installed on new trains in Switzerland.”
“This has in many respects made our division quite independent. In the past, prototyping was always outsourced, but now we can do it ourselves.” Senior Design Engineer John Minderhoud is visibly enthused about the delta printer. “The printer is on non-stop. We can try out any ideas that we come up with, with no obstacles or delays.” In the old procedure, John needed eight other people (from buyers to external parties), two weeks of turnaround time and 24 euros per mock-up. “The biggest payoff is not the savings in external costs, material or anything like that, but the fact that we have cut out all the intermediate steps.”
3D printing provides an edge to the competition, as it is easy to implement innovative products at a quicker pace. In the case of Exalto, they were able to invent the first ever rain sensor for trains.
The prototyping process is now incredibly swift when compared with the traditional approach, which required several intermediate steps.
Prototyping is incredibly fast, allowing for trial and error.
Because prototyping does not have to be outsourced, Exalto is able to cut costs drastically.
Every innovative design is kept in-house, so there is no need to worry about confidentiality any longer.