John Winter has been around for 55 years and has seen a few things, especially in manufacturing. Throughout the production fads and factory developments, the established company has been a fixture in the British foundry industry. They’ve also diversified to serve the dental laboratory materials in a completely different move, but one that enabled them to shift into the realm of 3D printing. . BigRep is thrilled that they’ve become a part of the large-scale 3D printing family and reseller network.
Mass-volume manufacturing isn’t as much a part of the UK industrial landscape these days, says John Winter’s Head of Sales, Adam Bennett, though it has become more specialized. “There’s a lot of higher-end components for the aerospace, automotive and other sectors in the UK. We manufacture, for example, very large castings and tools… These days, UK industry is focused on quality rather than quantity.”
In fact, recent research from the EEF, the UK’s manufacturing and engineering body, British manufacturing makes up for 44% of exports. But it’s John Winter’s accelerating interest in 3D printing that is reflective of an overall trend in Britain toward 3D printing, and one that is sees them take 5th place globally in terms of share of the world’s additive manufacturing market, according to 2018 research by AT Kearney and HP.
John Winter’s expertise has long lay in its expertise working with the foundry industry. Sitting in West Yorkshire between Manchester and Leeds, they’re surrounded by the wonder of British manufacturing culture, which led the world for years in terms of industrial production. They understand how traditional production works, and what is required to make a perfect model or prototype. Now, however, they’re working with their foundry industry customers, showing them how to speed up production with large-scale 3D printing.
According to the aforementioned research, the UK has “built a national strategy to promote 3D printing, but Brexit has resulted in some uncertainty in the UK manufacturing sector and innovation leadership. They have placed an emphasis on higher education and training the workforce for 3D printing.”
Bennett says they are certainly feeling the results of that openness to additive manufacturing in their niche corner, the foundry market. “The feeling within the foundry sector is all about efficiency, process improvement and making things quicker in terms of delivering to the customer.”
He says it’s easy enough for those using traditional methods to turn their computer models into 3D files and send to a 3D printer. Then it’s a matter of weeks or days, instead of months, that they can receive a ready 1:1 model.
“The key value will be speed – the overall turnaround time for making a new pattern and original set of tooling, which is usually done by machining metal or wood.” They are excited to be having more of these kinds of conversations with their long-time customers about how additive manufacturing can change the UK foundry market.
Bennett references some BigRep use cases such as Teignbridge (free BigRep e-book here) – one example of how UK industry is using large-scale 3D printing technology to subvert the traditional casting process and produce faster and more efficiently.
For more details on how John Winter and BigRep can shift the face of foundry in the UK, visitors can see both when they team up at TCT Birmingham from September 25-27. The BigRep STUDIO will be on display for visitors to demo themselves.