HPL Prototypes

HPL sees instant return on investment with NEO800 system

High-quality, cost-effective automotive part production

Based in Coventry, HPL Prototypes specialises in the manufacture of bespoke show cars, with clients including prestigious brands like Bentley, Aston Martin, McLaren and Jaguar Land Rover. The company produces prototypes and concepts with different aesthetics for its clients before they enter full-scale production.

To help HPL reduce the costs and delays associated with outsourcing additive manufacturing (AM) to 3D printing bureaus, Tri-Tech 3D supplied the company with the Stratasys NEO800 stereolithography (SL) system.

The challenge

Before working with Tri-Tech 3D, HPL would outsource 3D printing when parts required a level of accuracy or certain properties that its in-house methods couldn’t provide.

Relying on bureaus introduced challenges including:

  • Added costs
  • Increased risk of delays to production schedules
  • A loss of control over its profit margins
  • Slow speed to quote
  • Lack of access to build data

The solution

Tri-Tech 3D supplied the Stratasys NEO800 SL system, which is designed to produce large parts with high accuracy and quality. It has a large build area of 800 x 800 x 600 mm, and a 2-Watt variable beam laser with dynamic and variable beam size options.

The Stratasys NEO800 combines high laser power with advanced control to increase print speed and throughput — delivering highly accurate parts with superior surface quality. It is also an open-resin system and is compatible with all 355 nm SL resins, allowing freedom of material selection.

The NEO800 is a user-friendly machine, and it runs on a really intuitive operating system, which has made adoption straightforward. Overall, the response from our team has been very positive and, personally, I’ve seen how the NEO800 has already improved our production flexibility day-to-day.

explained Oliver Browning, CNC team leader at HPL.

Results

Glyn Horsfield, finance director at HPL commented:

Already, the NEO800 has paid for itself, and we are seeing its financial value. The system became cash flow positive from month one, which equates to a return on investment in the first year. This is virtually unheard of when investing in new production technology! It’s easily one of the best investments that HPL has ever made.

With the NEO800 now in place, HPL is using the Somos® WaterShed XC 11122 low-viscosity material to produce accurate, functional parts with optical clarity, such as headlights.

As well as producing parts that can only be 3D printed, HPL is using the NEO800 to supplement the capacity of its CNC machines. Some automotive components like bevel gears can be both machined and printed, so having the NEO800 readily available means that HPL’s engineers can still produce critical parts while the CNC machine is busy.

The NEO800 has also opened HPL to new business opportunities. HPL recently launched Allesley, a coachbuilder offshoot specialising in multi-million pound, highly personalised cars. With the NEO800 now installed, Allesley clients can visit HPL’s site and see how their bespoke motor is coming along.

To find out how you can make vital cost and time savings with on-site 3D printing capabilities, visit our NEO page to see our range of NEO stereolithography 3D printing technology.