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Marlin Controls

3D printing creates custom parts for Marlin Controls

“3D printing means that we can we build covers exactly to our customers’ specifications in quantities as few as one without any tooling costs.”
– Moe Chigani, Marlin Controls

control cover

Another cover produced by Marlin to customer specifications

Marlin Controls builds lighting control panels for a wide range of businesses, from restaurant chains, schools and offices to entertainment centers, places of worship and private homes. The panels are typically visible to employees and guests, so appearance is just as critical as performance.

Durable Parts

Marlin Controls previously built panels from steel and anodized aluminum— expensive materials that require multiple components for assembly and high labor costs. Looking for a new approach to achieve customer satisfaction at better price points, Marlin Controls turned to 3D printing.

“I searched for a 3D printer that could make products with the strength and durability I could use for production parts,” said owner Moe Chigani. “The quality, finish and mechanical strength of the Stratasys samples met all of our requirements.”

Switching to FDM® technology for low-volume production of plastic covers as a single part not only saves money on materials, but eliminates assembly time. It also helps reduce tooling costs for custom designs, which used to add an extra $40,000 to custom orders.

“The move to 3D printing means that we can we build covers exactly to our customers’ specifications in quantities as few as one without any tooling cost,” Chigani said.

Fast Fulfillment for Unique Designs

Marlin Controls’ Fortus 3D Printer now runs 24 hours a day producing control covers from ABS-M30 material. Once the parts are printed, the staff need only to wash off support material and wipe the part clean with an organic thinner to smooth the surface.

The covers are produced in a wide range of configurations and sizes depending on the customer’s needs, from custom functions like dimmers and remote application controls to large programmable control stations for businesses with complex lighting and technology needs, many options are possible.

“Every customer wants their own unique design and with 3D printing we can give them exactly what they want,” Chigani said.

Marlin Controls also uses a digital flatbed inkjet printer to add colors, logos and other designs customers request. The company can print operating instructions on the covers and recently built controls for one major restaurant chain with a mahogany pattern and the company’s logo on the cover.

The flexibility and quick fulfillment of 3D printing has brought much success to the company with business up 30%. Today Marlin can print, paint and ship orders within 24 hours instead of their previous 14-day turnaround. Material costs are down 85% and labor costs down 80% since the move away from steel and aluminum parts.

METHOD TO PRODUCE FOUR-GANG CONTROLLER TIME COST
Traditional manufacturing 14 days $50
3D printing 1 day $10
Savings 13 days
93%
$40
80%

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