Faster iterations everytime
Snow Business uses Ultimaker to speed up its iterative R&D process, achieving significant cost savings along the way
“With the Ultimaker, I can print a nozzle in 7 hours, I can test it, make a small adjustment and print another one. There’s also a huge cost difference between outsourcing this and doing it myself. In-house 3D printing cost me a couple of euros worth of plastic whereas with outsourcing it was £125 every time I wanted to make a design change.”
Paul Denney, Head of Research at Snow Business Internationality
Snow Business – Introduction
Snow Business is the world leader in snow and winter effects. The company develops snow machines that are used in the film and TV industry as well as on Christmas fairs and other live events. They work with big-budget production companies and are featured in films such as 007: James Bond, Kingsmen, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. A major focus of R&D is the machine’s nozzle, which is where the machine mixes air with fluid to create the snow effect. The nozzles have a complex air and fluid flow geometry, which makes it impossible to cast them. The only way to create new nozzles is by 3D printing. They are developed through an iterative process of print, try, adjust the model, and repeat – often taking numerous revisions before reaching a design that matches the high-quality standards the company set. Snow Business uses their Ultimaker 3D printers for prototyping, functional testing, and creating the final nozzles for the snow machines.
Previously, production of the nozzles was outsourced to SLS service bureaus. The turnaround time for this outsourcing solution was anything up to 7 days and it was £125 minimum order. Since the development of new nozzles is done through an iterative process that requires numerous revisions, this significantly held up the R&D process, so Paul started looking for a solution that he could use himself on-site
Paul got the Ultimaker for prototyping and producing new nozzles for the snow machines. In stark contrast with the outsourcing solution, he can now print new nozzles in a matter of hours and at almost no cost. He is no longer dependent on suppliers’ agendas when developing new nozzle designs as he can simply print a new design from his desk, test it, make small alterations, and print a new one
While he could still use the SLS service, the in-house solution turned out to be more cost-effective in the long run. Having the Ultimaker allows him to test more designs in a shorter time frame and reduces the costs of making design iterations. Paul estimates the first printer they bought for the company paid for itself within just 2 weeks.
Cost and Time Saved using 3D Printing
Ultimaker 3D printers
|7 Days||7 Hours|
Note: these numbers relate to the iterative R&D process. When going into production, the cost per iteration of £125 for SLS service bureaus can be spread across multiple nozzles, likely shrinking the per-nozzle cost of SLS service bureaus to £25
Talk to an Expert
We’re here to answer your questions
Implementing a new technology can be a painful experience, slowing down your core business and not returning results immediately. Let our team take your headaches away, our knowledge of integrating 3D printing into different industries and applications is second to none. We’d love to hear about your project and help you find the right solution.
Call one of our friendly team and find out how 3D printing can revolutionise your business.
0800 7720 257
3D Printing Applications in Product Design
The smartest and most cost effective way to design. 3D printing has revolutionised prototyping decreasing the time of production to hours and the costs of prototypes to fractions.
Removing the costs of tooling for small-volume, highly accurate, customised parts is now a possibility with 3D printing. A world of materials and finishes that rival injection moulding…
The future is now. Designing and producing concept models can take a matter of hours, at minimal costs and with and almost Labour-free experience. 3DGBIRE’s foundations are in…
Moulds & Castings
3D printing patterns and molds is a highly accurate method that doesn’t have the associated costs of traditional mould making. Investment casting, injection molding and production parts are…
Machining tools, jigs or fixtures in metal is a thing of the past. Cost, weight and storage problems are something you live with or you just cope without that part. 3D printing gives you the freedom…
Whether to test the market or to allow your customers into the design process earlier 3D printing allows a quicker, cost saving method of delivering a beautifully crafted product.