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TE Connectivity

3D Printing Helps Grow R&D Capabilites for TE Connectivity in Shanghai

“Now we can quickly develop designs that meet customer requirements and create prototypes. If any adjustments are needed, we can easily make them ourselves without outsourcing the work.”

— Roland Lu,
Research & Technology Manager of TE Connectivity (Shanghai) Co. Ltd

Electrifying productivity

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Pursuing innovative solutions like those offered by 3D printing is essential for TE Connectivity.

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The Objet 3D Printer helped TE attain a first-time prototype approval rate of over 80 percent.

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TE Connectivity has used the Objet 3D Printer in product design, industrial development and mold design.

TE Connectivity (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. (TE) is a world leader in the electronics industry—30 percent of the world’s top 30 automakers depend on TE’s connectivity and sensor products, which are used in smart engine controls and power management, navigation, active and passive systems. With over 18,000 issued and pending patents, TE tackles customers’ design challenges using cutting-edge technology to increase connectivity and decrease costs for customers.

As it continues to improve its products and maintain market competitiveness, TE invested in a 3D Printer from Stratasys. Since then, the printer has helped enhance its R&D capabilities, resulting in higher-quality products, shorter product development cycles, improved innovation capacities and lower costs.

Motivation to Grow

The ever-changing demands of China’s automotive market motivated TE to find the perfect 3D printer for its business needs. The company wanted its products to meet even higher expectations in terms of quality; for those products to be delivered to market as efficiently as possible; and to develop in-house prototyping to grow yet protect its creative ideas.

TE chose the Objet 3D Printer because it offered user-friendliness, reasonably priced materials and worldwide expertise.

“In the electronics industry, having short lead times is critical to being competitive in the market. The Objet 3D Printer helps our R&D division keep its competitive edge by optimizing the product development process,” said Roland Lu, Research & Technology Manager of TE. “Now we can quickly develop designs that meet customer requirements and create prototypes. If any adjustments are needed, we can easily make them ourselves without outsourcing the work.”

Accelerated Innovation

Armed with the Objet 3D Printer, TE now has its own in-house prototyping solution that shortens the product development cycle and accelerates its go-to-market time for innovative ideas. Since 2012, TE’s automotive engineering R&D division has utilized the Objet 3D Printer in product design, industrial development and mold design. The printer has become integral to the division’s work because it allows customers to provide feedback easily and quickly adjust prototypes. More effective customer communications helped designers achieve a first-time prototype approval rate of over 80 percent, leading to greater customer satisfaction and a higher return rate for orders.

TE designers and engineers can also test their ideas any time, increasing the possibility of achieving technological breakthroughs. As a result, TE shortened its product development cycle by at least 20 percent. Recently, TE submitted patent applications for over 80 new or improved product designs, which contributed to its continuous growth.

Additionally, having an in-house 3D printer helps TE eliminate third-party costs and better safeguard intellectual property by ensuring that designs are well kept in the company premises.

TE made back the costs of investing in the Objet 3D Printer within a year, and the company believes that the printer’s value has far outweighed its costs. Stratasys has become TE’s first choice for a 3D printer supplier, a role that will only grow. “In the future, 3D printers will continue to play a vital role in our business strategy,” said Lu.

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