3D Prototype

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SWANY Co. Ltd.  View Company Info

Sample formed with Digital Mold®. With this type about 150 shots can be formed.

 

Japanese SME Fuels the Manufacturing Revolution with Digital Mold®

The small town of Ina would be an unlikely place to find a revolutionary. However, this is Japan and Ina is smack dab in the nation’s manufacturing hub. This story is about the unlikely cog turning the wheel of Japan’s manufacturing revolution – Swany. 3D printing is fast revolutionizing the manufacturing field worldwide by slashing the time it takes to produce products to a fraction of what it used to be.  The cost is also much lower. Techniques using 3D molding resins and ABS plastic for injection molding are used alongside more traditional methods of manufacturing such as metal stamping, however the old school of manufacturing rarely meets the brave new world of 3D printing.

The Bridge Builder

Swany is a bridge builder and a revolutionary. They work on joint partnerships with small to medium size manufacturers throughout Japan bringing together traditional craftsmanship and modern 3D printing knowhow. Swany brings together the best of traditional craftsmanship and manufacturing with the possibilities of 3D printing. The company CEO Yoshihiro Hashizume has dubbed this Swany’s Digital Mold® Process. This process introduces metals firms to working with 3D prototypes to produce the highest quality products in the world.

©LEVEL-5 Inc. Photo courtesy by Takara Tomy

©LEVEL-5 Inc. Photo courtesy by Takara Tomy

A Great Challenge

Swany recently got a call from Takara Tomy one of Japan’s biggest toy manufacturers about a product licensed by video game giant Level-5.

Swany had a month to produce molds for the mass production of two-thousand complex swords made of stainless steel and acrylic. The art of manufacturing products that combined metals and resins was not commonplace and Swany is one of the only companies doing it successfully in Japan.
Swany stood up to the challenge. Such a challenge would have been impossible using either traditional manufacturing or 3D printing standards alone, however Swany’s Digital Mold® process made the impossible possible.
It would normally take a metals company about ten to twenty days to complete such a project. 3D printing on the other hand could get the acrylic part of the job done in a fraction of the time. Swany had to partner with a number of other SMEs in order to get the project done and have the goods delivered in time. This required an amazing amount of coordination, impossible in most markets.

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The Power of the Network

Hiroshima based Castem took care of the metal part of the sword with their Digital Mold Metal ® process based on MIM (Metal Injection Molding) technology.  The MIM adapted Swany’s original 3D acrylic model. The combination of 3D Printing and MIM Swany’s Digital Mold Metal process. Castem also has the ability to cast the sword in iron and titanium, both prototypes were also cast and considered. Somehow the stainless steel just worked best. Osaka based company Nakatsuji Metals combined the 3D printing technology with Digital mold press ® a metal press technology based off the original 3D models. This is Swany’s Digital Mold Press process. This process created an exquisite logo with detailed Japanese characters on the sword. Using 3D created prototypes the metals companies were able to deliver the products to the customer in about 1/6th of the time it normally would have taken. All of this was coordinated by the steady hand of Swany. The sword turned out beautiful and the customer considered it a major success.
Stratasys, Inc, the world’s leading 3D printing company. The US based company’s Japan office lauded Swany’s work saying, “these guys even shock the pros!” What most impresses Stratasys and other manufacturing giants is Swany’s ability to select the best SMEs to complete tasks and coordinate efforts by educating companies in the use of 3D printer created prototypes. The traditional Japanese manufacturing climate is resistant to change, however Swany is the catalyst bringing about the Japanese manufacturing revolution.

Infinite Possibilities

Swany is fixated on maximizing the infinite possibilities of 3D printing. Commenting on the impact 3D printing can have on Japanese manufacturing CEO Yoshihiro Hashizume said, “Japanese employees are extremely hard working and inquisitive, however many Japanese companies are fervently risk averse.” 3D printing takes the time and materials costs out of the equation and designers are free to try their designs and prototypes out. Mr. Hashizume believes that 3D printing will liberate Japanese ingenuity and bring Japanese manufacturing to a new level of excellence and global competitiveness.  The Power of the Network

Hiroshima based Castem took care of the metal part of the sword with their Digital Mold Metal ® process based on MIM (Metal Injection Molding) technology.  The MIM adapted Swany’s original 3D acrylic model. The combination of 3D Printing and MIM Swany’s Digital Mold Metal process. Castem also has the ability to cast the sword in iron and titanium, both prototypes were also cast and considered. Somehow the stainless steel just worked best. Osaka based company Nakatsuji Metals combined the 3D printing technology with Digital mold press ® a metal press technology based off the original 3D models. This is Swany’s Digital Mold Press process. This process created an exquisite logo with detailed Japanese characters on the sword. Using 3D created prototypes the metals companies were able to deliver the products to the customer in about 1/6th of the time it normally would have taken. All of this was coordinated by the steady hand of Swany. The sword turned out beautiful and the customer considered it a major success.
Stratasys, Inc, the world’s leading 3D printing company. The US based company’s Japan office lauded Swany’s work saying, “these guys even shock the pros!” What most impresses Stratasys and other manufacturing giants is Swany’s ability to select the best SMEs to complete tasks and coordinate efforts by educating companies in the use of 3D printer created prototypes. The traditional Japanese manufacturing climate is resistant to change, however Swany is the catalyst bringing about the Japanese manufacturing revolution.

SWANY Co. Ltd.

Business Description: Product design and development, prototyping support
Head office: 7361, Tomigata, Ina city, Nagano 396-0621, Japan
Chief Executive Officer: Yoshihiro Hashizume
Number of employees: 15 / Date established: 1970