On Time and On Budget: How a Global Product Development Firm Tapped 3Diligent to Keep a Complicated Prototype on Track

Posted on Jul 24, 2018 by Cullen Hikene

For some design projects, the entire time to execute—from design to a prototype—can be as short as a week. LUNAR, a global product design consulting firm now a part of McKinsey Design has the talented designers and complete staff to handle rapid product development. This way of working assumes that cost-effective 3D printing resources and vendors are available to produce prototypes within extremely tight deadlines. For a particularly complicated project, the firm turned to 3Diligent to meet these demands.

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LUNAR (offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Singapore), has been creating charismatic designs for more than 30 years. In 2015, LUNAR was acquired by McKinsey & Company, which formed a groundbreaking proposition for the integration of business strategy and design. Now a part of McKinsey Design, LUNAR helps clients drive growth by delivering breakthrough products, customer experiences and design-led innovation. This combination of analytical rigor and breakthrough creativity helps clients across the private, public, and social sectors innovate at scale and speed.

Working with 3Diligent

Since LUNAR is involved with many different types of product design, from consumer packaging to consumer electronics to MedTech, the team must have access to a wide range of 3D printing technologies to make the vision for each project into reality. For example, a medical client might have a prototype that needs a very specific material and other times a client might want a design for a giant water jug where the most cost-effective material possible is needed. LUNAR can take a client’s vision and work extremely efficiently to iterate at unprecedented speeds. With these factors to consider, LUNAR works with a large number of rapid-prototyping companies.

Each project comes with its own set of constraints including cost, time, or specific material needs. This can sometimes make it a challenge to find the right rapid prototyping partner for the job.

The team was working with a client on an industrial power tool that was very heavy and hard to work with. To improve ergonomics and reduce cost, LUNAR ran a generative design FEA on a large steel forging, thus reducing the mass by 40%. The team needed prototypes made to simulate a steel part, so the client could feel a difference between their current part and the newly designed part. Its usual network of rapid prototyping vendors didn’t have the ability to sinter metals quickly and cost-effectively, so LUNAR turned to 3Diligent to meet the time and specific material requirements of the project.

Chris Wlezien, Technical Lead, liked working with 3Diligent for the quick response to his request for a quote and that everything is managed in a dashboard while also maintaining a human touch.

“Working with 3Diligent, I appreciated the human element throughout the process, such as getting an email confirming the details or that a supplier was found,” he said. “Some suppliers have a totally automated process and at times a project might come in with an anomaly or issue. 3Diligent provided a good hybrid approach and it was nice to know that there were eyes on the entire process.”

3Diligent’s Range of Capabilities

3Diligent offers a complete range of additive-manufacturing processes including sheet lamination, binder jetting, material jetting, vat photopolymerization, extrusion, powder bed fusion, and directed energy deposition. 3Diligent also offers services for machining and casting. These processes are offered across the range of resins, plastics, metals, and composites, and allows 3Diligent to address virtually any project need, from prototype to production.

A Successful Relationship

“We’ve used a lot of rapid prototyping companies in the past, but I really liked the flexibility, diversity and reach that 3Diligent offers,” Chris said. “We have a broad range of rapid prototyping companies in our network that can usually turn around jobs quickly, but where 3Diligent really shines is its depth of offerings that fit our more exotic material needs. I look forward to seeing what projects we can complete with 3Diligent in the future.”

About 3Diligent

3Diligent is an innovative digital-manufacturing services provider. Its 3Diligent ProdEX division offers CAD/CAM-based fabrication services such as 3D printing, machining, casting, and injection molding through a distributed global network of qualified manufacturing partners. Its 3Diligent Shopsight shop-management system empowers machine shop and service bureau operators with powerful tools for pre-production and production. 3Diligent launched in 2014 to provide businesses the convenience of a one-stop shop for custom manufacturing needs and a partner immune to the disruption Industry 4.0 was bringing about. 3Diligent counts inventors, startups, and Fortune 500 enterprises among its customers.

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