Small Toys are Big Business
Hong Kong-based HOYU Tooling, with 20 years of experience in the tooling industry, provides a wide range of services, from rapid prototyping to mold manufacturing. HOYU helps companies navigate manufacturing processes efficiently and reliably, while avoiding costly modifications.
HOYU caters to a wide range of industries and products, such as household goods, mechanical robots and premium toys. With specifc expertise in the toy industry, HOYU delivers more than 4,000 different molds annually and serves global customers such as Mattel and McDonald’s.
HOYU’s rapid prototyping services enable customers to evaluate new designs as well as check the form and function for manufacturability. Increased demand for these services meant the company had to outsource large portions of its prototyping business. “This created two major challenges,” said Lam Suet Fung, head of the Prototyping Division at HOYU. “First, the high cost of outsourcing reduced our margins. Then, there was the issue of confidentiality, since safeguarding a company’s designs is an integral part of our service. Outsourcing signifcantly increased our risk.”
HOYU was looking for an in-house 3D printer that would enable the company to respond quickly to its customers, reduce costs and maintain confidentiality. It also needed to print fine details. “Since we service many toy companies, we often need to prototype small figurines and must be able to print very fine facial details,” he said.
Emulating feel and function
After evaluating several 3D systems, HOYU selected the Objet500 Connex 3D Printer. It provides the ability to print parts and assemblies simultaneously, using multiple materials with different mechanical or physical properties. Now, when the HOYU team prototypes a figurine, they can print the body with rigid materials and the belt with soft materials in a single run to deliver an accurate texture and feel to the end product. The requirements for printing the accurate facial elements of a figurine are met by the Objet500 Connex, as it excels in high resolution, high quality printing, producing exceptionally fine details. Ultra-thin 16-micron layers enable smooth surfaces.
“With the Objet 3D Printer in-house, our designers can quickly verify design concepts, while our engineers perform functional testing and examine moving pieces of the prototype, such as arms and legs,” said Lam. After painting and post-processing, customers approve the models prior to mold manufacturing.
Reaching peak productivity
Since purchasing the Objet500 Connex 3D Printer, HOYU has moved 90 percent of its prototype printing in-house. “In cases where we cannot handle the load and must outsource jobs, we do not outsource the complete product, but print parts of the models in-house to maintain confidentiality,” said Lam.
HOYU is using the Objet500 Connex at full capacity to handle customer demand. The printer runs 10 hours a day, five days a week. “The Objet is so user friendly that almost every staff member within my team is capable of using it,” said Lam. “I am particularly happy with the huge tray size, which saves us a lot of time and enables us to print several models in a single build. The printer works unattended, so I start a print job before I leave the office in the evening and have models ready the next morning.”