Fast prototyping technologies entered Russian market in the middle 90s. Today this sector is developing actively inclusive of OOO AP-Proekt activities. In the interview to Plastiks Magazine company's CEO Anton Petrov spoke about advantages of this production method
– Mr. Petrov, could you please tell us some history of your enterprise? – AP Proekt was established in 2009 in Nizhniy Novgorod. We specialize in engineering services, production of pilot and small lots of plastic parts applying fast prototyping technologies. The company houses state-of-the-art equipment which is operated by highly qualified engineers and technical specialists and implements a tough quality assurance policy. – What are the core points of fast prototyping technologies? – Creating a prototype means layer-by-layer build-up of physical model in fast prototyping plant. There are a lot of devices and materials which are applied for creating of prototype, for example fluoroplastics (SLA technology), ABS threads (FDM technology), PA powder (SLS technology) and various 3D printers. Within the plant the file is divided to sections (layers) and each layer is sequentially build-up until complete physical model is achieved. Each technology has its own advantages and disadvantages and the priority has to be set on the assumption of task parameters (precision, performance, minimal cost). In our activities we apply the most precise and effective prototype creating method – the SLA technology/ Along with layer-by-layer prototype build-up fast prototyping technologies allow to produce small lots of plastic products (1 to 1000 units) with no need to fabricate metal tooling. Vacuum molding is performed into silicone molds. Two-component thermosetting plastics are used for this process as they are close to basic engineering plastics in terms of mechanical properties and can be colored in bulk. Some times one can use rubber-like materials and transparent systems. Our technical capabilities allow us to produce parts up to 1 m in length and up to 3.5 kg in weight. – Who can demand for these technologies? – First of all they are designers and engineers as during the design stage even if the most modern simulation software is used no one can avoid design mistakes which may significantly increase preparation costs for the series production. Creating a prototype allows to perform control assembly, evaluate ergonomics, determine deficits and carry out modifications if necessary. Thanks to applying dimensionally stable materials fast prototyping technologies allow to eliminate such issues as shrinkages, sink marks, variations in thickness which common to thermoplastic materials. The elasticity of silicone mold allows to produce parts featuring the most complex geometries. Technical limitations for producing parts are minimal. Surely that represents a great assistance for marketing specialists. When introducing a new product to the market one can face issues of investment volumes, sales volumes, risk levels and many others, Fast prototyping technologies provide an opportunity to produce a trial lot without an expensive metal tooling, perform a presentation for a new product and introduce it to the market even before production preparation stage is completed. Up to date we have implemented a range of interesting projects. Our list of repeated customers includes companies engaged in appliance, medical and automotive industry. – Along with fast prototyping you provide a range of services to your customers… – Our company also operates in the sphere of preparation of equipment and consumables for fast prototyping activities. We assist our customers to establish their own production facilities for plastic parts inclusive of the whole range of technological services. In 2010 we concluded a distribution agreement with OOO Vivtech according to which OOO AP Proekt becomes and official representative of Vivtech for realization of DME Europe C.V.B.A (Belgium) products. As you can see we expand our service range constantly in order to meet the demands of our customers in the most efficient way.
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