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Chocolate Factory Uses 3D Printing to Reduce Downtime

A less expensive, easier to produce part is helping cut costs and improve throughput.

Sparepart 3 D Print 012

Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, The Chocolate Factory relies on a collection of packaging machines for its candy products. A key component of these machines is a hook-shaped metal part that lifts wrapped bars onto a conveyer belt. The problem is that this part was in need of replacement as many as three times a month, which led to machinery downtime that was negatively effecting end product delivery.

The solution for The Chocolate Factory came from Stratasys, a leading provider of 3D printing equipment, materials and related technology. Local service bureau Visual First provided The Chocolate Factory with a 3D-printed 12CF carbon-filled thermoplastic part produced on a Fortus 450mc printer to replace the more expensive metal part that kept wearing out. Not only did this help cut costs, but the ability to 3D print the part on-demand has significantly reduced machine downtime.

The part is comprised of 35 percent chopped carbon-fiber for a high stiffness-to-weight ratio and added durability. Its lighter composition makes it easier to replace and the on-demand production dynamic has led to a 60 percent cost savings.

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