The following are two examples of RP used to streamline and accelerate the product development process. In the example for Equilasers, a manufacturer of laser systems based in San Jose, CA, the company needed a design for the housing of a new Nd:YAG cosmetic laser system, the Equilase 30™.10 The industrial and mechanical design was done, and the panels were fabricated from SLA parts. The size limitation on SLA parts was overcome by the parts being grown as smaller sections, then bonded together with SLA resin and painted. The project went from a clean-sheet concept design stage to a finished unit, ready to crate and ship to an
overseas trade show in 4 weeks. The parts were designed as detachable panels with production in mind, and included all of the mounting hardware, wall thickness, and draft required when the parts were to be pressure formed. The parts were robust enough for functional testing and shipping.
In the example for Sleep Solutions, Inc.,11 RP was used to iterate the product development and clinical testing process of the NovaSom QSG™ system. The original product was a test unit enclosed in a sheet metal project box, and needed to be redesigned for quantity production, as well as to have the look of a friendly, easy-to-use medical instrument for home use. The unit also had to be radio frequency interference (RFI) shielded and very durable for multiple shipping and reuse. Also, since the unit was to be very compact, design for assembly issues needed to be resolved before committing to hard tooling. An iteration of the design was produced in RP to test and debug the design. A final SLA master was produced, and several cast urethane duplicates were produced with RTV silicone tooling. The units were assembled using threaded inserts, as the final plastic parts would be. These units were used for mechanical and assembly testing and electronics package development, and also in final clinical validation while the injection mold tooling was in process. Once the tooling was done, injection molded parts were produced in a durable engineering plastic, with confidence in the fit and function of the final parts that had been verified with RP before the hard tooling
Figure 6.5 RP prototype (stereolithography and cast urethane) parts and injection molded final design of the NovaSom QSG™. (Kucklick Design for Sleep Solutions, Inc.)
was cut. RP was a useful tool to move this project forward quickly, and allowed several design and validation activities to proceed in parallel, with high levels of confidence in the final results.
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