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k-Space Ultra One Case Study

June 21, 2019

k-Space Associates

Saves Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars with 3D Printed Components

  

The Ultra One: “Beautiful!”

k-Space Associates, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of in-line, in situ, and ex situ metrology tools for the semiconductor, thin-film, photovoltaic (PV), solar, automotive, glass, and building materials industries. Our tools and custom metrology solutions are in research and production facilities around the world.

k-Space Associates have been 3D printing custom electronics boxes used for calibration of tools, fixturing for optical components and full-size optical probe prototypes for a few years. The company originally purchased the MakerGear M2 printer and recently upgraded the MakerGear Ultra One, large format industrial printer for mass producing components.

 

“We were able to design and print an entire optical shutter system, in only a few short hours. This allowed us to test and prove the viability of our product’s design and potentially save upwards of $150,000 across an entire order of 100 units. This more than pays for the cost of the machine!”

–Hunter Van Eck, Application Engineer, k-Space Associates

    

Short-run Production

k-Space Associates uses 3D printed components inside their systems. These components include custom holders for optics, adapter plates for fitting together various oddly shaped objects and cable clamps. These components are production ready and they typically use PETG and Nylon filaments. 

 

 Functional Prototypes and Fit Testing

k-Space uses the ability to 3D print an entire optical probe to send to a customer, to test fitment on their customer’s vacuum chambers, prior to receiving the real product. Many of k-Space’s customers use various types of vacuum chambers and have very strict timelines to have their processes shut down. Having the ability to test for fitment issues ahead of schedule – or often before physically building the product is critical to saving both time and money.

 

k-Space uses their MakerGear 3D printers to create fully functional prototypes of systems which are intended to be CNC machined out of aluminum. This has allowed k-Space to 3D print entirely new products for only a few dollars to test tolerances, fix misaligned, wrong sized holes, etc. prior to final machining. 

 

 

 

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