Snippet: Prototyping in Record Time

Snippet: Prototyping in Record Time

Enschede, September 2021. Time is money, as the saying goes, and the world of product development is no exception. That in itself is reason enough to design processes to be as efficient as possible. For example, when producing certain prototypes. When it comes to components that are 3D printed or can be produced by laser cutting, PCV Group relies on its collaboration with Red Drop Design, a company that also calls Enschede its home. In this interview, Sjors Zuidema from PCV Group and Wouter Hoogterp, owner of Red Drop Design, tell us what makes this cooperation special.

How long have the two companies been working together?

Wouter: We received the first laser cutting orders in 2018. Initially, our work with PCV was exclusively in this area. From 2020, this expanded to include 3D printing of parts and components for prototypes.

How did you first come in contact?

Wouter: Our companies are both based in Enschede. We have very good links with the community surrounding the local university The same is true of PCV Group. So the number of points of contact kept growing and growing, as it continues to today.

University of Twente by Pollus Fornerod CC BY-SA 4.0

Why did PCV Group choose Red Drop Design?

Sjors: Above all, because they are so fast. When we need a certain part, we get it delivered extremely quickly. The record is four hours! The geographical proximity also helps here. The shortest delivery times Red Drop Design’s competitors can offer are a few days. Obviously, our customers also benefit from this flexibility.

Are there any other reasons?

Sjors: The extent to which a company invests in obtaining its own 3D printer or other equipment is always a question of economy. The tools that Red Drop Design has would simply not be a worthwhile investment for us to have as sole users.

Wouter: For example, a 3D printer such as the one we currently operate, implies investment costs of approximately 10,000 euros. You also have the additional costs for maintenance and support. The various printing materials also have a limited shelf life. Furthermore, the world of 3D printing continues to develop very quickly. In terms of new techniques and processes, it is important to keep up-to-date with new developments to ensure you have all the possibilities at your disposal.

What sorts of parts does Red Drop Design supply to PCV Group?

Wouter: There’s a lot of variety. Some of them are components for larger prototypes. At the moment, we are working with transparent components that liquids flow through.

Sjors: It involves a product on a rather small length scale, with channels through which the fluids are fed. The details here can be quite demanding, for example at the joints and crossover points.  We really value the fact that Red Drop Design also warns us when problems are likely to arise.

Example print of internal channels with coffee flowing through
Example print of internal channels with coffee flowing through

How can you illustrate that?

Sjors: Sometimes they even send plans back to us with comments if they think that something isn’t going to work very well. The questions are usually: What do you need part XY for? What is it meant to do? This thinking is very important for the quality of the results.

Wouter: Yes, dialogue is very important to us. We are very happy with this close collaboration, which benefits everyone involved. By the same token, we are also learning an incredible amount with each difficult question PCV Group puts in front of us. The challenges each one brings makes us stronger.

Sjors Zuidema and Wouter Hoogterp
Sjors Zuidema
Senior Engineer

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