Getting working prototype parts in days let a vacuumcleaner motor maker turn out working models of a new design in a week. What's more, engineers at Ametek Inc., Paoli, Pa., received injection-molded parts in Rynite, a material strong enough to survive the heat and pressure generated in performance tests.

Before building the parts, Protomold Inc., Maple Plain, Minn., let the motor maker "analyze part models for elements that might affect lead time," says Ametek Vice President of Engineering James Shawcross. "Changing designs online instead of describing alterations over the phone proved a huge advantage in getting a functional model in front of clients within one week." Protomold created 100 production-quality parts for tests by the engineering and manufacturing departments, and clients.

Most traditional rapid-prototyping methods, however, deliver only one part per run and use materials that deform in rigorous performance tests. To solve such problems, functional testing was often put on hold until production molds could be developed, typically a 16-week wait.

Protomold design specialists and ProtoQuote, the company's Webbased quoting and design-analysis system, let Ametek engineers receive working pilot parts in five days for customer demonstrations and design approvals.
The motor developed by Ametek (right) relocates the carbon brushes and air-handling diffuser. The armature support and carbon-brush system hang upside down instead of topside up.

Protomold design specialists and ProtoQuote, the company's Webbased quoting and design-analysis system, let Ametek engineers receive working pilot parts in five days for customer demonstrations and design approvals.

The motor developed by Ametek (right) relocates the carbon brushes and air-handling diffuser. The armature support and carbon-brush system hang upside down instead of topside up.



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