Catalyst For Growth
High-resolution 3D printed prototypes help Servco perform fit testing, even for complex assemblies.
Servco Resources Sdn. Bhd. (Servco) designs, manufactures and installs laboratory furnishings across Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Established in 1990, the company has installed systems in thousands of schools, universities, research agencies and industrial facilities.
Recent accolades from the Malaysian government put Servco in a position to grow quickly. Inclusion in Malaysia’s TERAS program recognizes Servco as having a quality management team, products with global export value, and the potential to become a private listed company. With this stamp of approval, Servco was looking for technology that would help it to advance to the next level.
Many accurate 3D printed prototypes come together in Servco’s thorough testing.
Updating its prototyping process offered a great opportunity. “When we produced mockups of our lab furniture systems, we had to refine the prototype part by part as each part could affect all the others. This is a very long, tiring and costly effort. We were not able to produce new products as quickly as we wanted to,” said Taufiq Rosidi, Chief Strategy Officer. “We were also exposed to possible intellectual property theft when we outsourced the manufacturing of parts that we could not produce quickly enough ourselves.”
Servco decided to invest in a 3D printer to create prototypes more quickly and speed its product-development process. After researching vendors, the company chose Stratasys. “The Stratasys 3D Printer can print very detailed, refined models,” explained Rosidi. Specifically, the company chose an Objet30 3D Printer, which fits on a desktop. Rosidi praises its ease of use and the fact that it needs no specialized skills to operate.
The 3D printer has doubled the number of prototypes Servco can create each month. These prototypes let Servco study new ways to improve products, test new products before committing to production and provide models for focus groups. “We have reduced production errors and eliminated the need for expensive tooling at the early stages of the production,” Rosidi said.
One example is its flexible and mobile lab system, Eagle, which was commercially ready in half the time compared to previous new products. Moreover, since the 3D printer is inhouse, intellectual property stays right in Servco’s facility, secure from theft.
Further, in-house 3D printing has helped Servco’s sales and marketing team win clients, including for the Eagle project, because working proof-of-concept models demonstrate what Servco is capable of. “It is much easier to convince clients when they are able to see the prototypes earlier. The Objet30 3D Printer has also allowed us more flexibility in tweaking designs to meet customer requirements,” he said.
Slashing costs while speeding revenue
Servco is able to work on more projects simultaneously since investing in the 3D printer. In general, Servco has seen turnaround times and time to market halved across all projects, with varying savings on production cost. He credits these improvements to a 50 percent drop in common errors, such as parts not functioning or not fitting together well.
“With a Stratasys 3D Printer, we can develop new and exciting products rapidly and penetrate untapped markets,” concluded Rosidi.