Bee Health benefits from AddParts innovative 3D printing solutions

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A Bridlington-based manufacturer of nutritional supplements has solved a complex production problem with the help of an on-demand digital spares service.

INW Bee Health Ltd turned to Addition Design’s AddParts service for a solution when marks were being left on their white magnesium capsules during the manufacturing process.

The problem was quickly solved through AddParts expertise in 3D scanning, digital data management and industrial 3D printing allowing for a complex set of components to be designed and delivered in under 15 days, saving Bee Heath significant downtime costs when the magnesium production run was due to start.

AddParts, an exclusive service of Addition Design based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham, supplies digital spares for automated production lines giving manufacturing customers across a number of sectors a competitive advantage by reducing downtime on automated production and packing lines.

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design, said: “INW Bee Health utilises stainless steel components within their vertical polishing machines to remove excess powder substrate from the outer surface of filled capsules. However, this set-up was causing marks on their white magnesium capsules. Bee Health had decided to look at alternatives and had sought to order a replacement from the OEM. 

“However, the lead time from the OEM was up to three months and despite the lengthy wait and significant cost ran the risk of simply replicating the same issue.

“Our AddParts team visited the Bee Health team and after a quick look at the machine, the available spare parts were 3D scanned on-site. We were able to assign Bee Health a virtual storeroom and secure login details were provided to key team members. Once the data was uploaded to the storeroom, with pricing and material specifications, the parts were basically ready to go in a matter of hours.”

The final set of components were manufactured in a range of materials depending on their proximity to the capsules, including AddParts’ food contact nylon material (which is FDA compliant), as well as weight-bearing components manufactured in carbon fibre reinforced nylon. Some components were hybrid, utilising the material properties of each material where they are most effective.

Added Tom: “The replacement parts required a small number of design changes to accommodate the chosen production materials and processes but once these were completed and signed off via the part page on the AddParts storeroom, the components were produced and supplied, with all the necessary material regulatory information and certificates of conformity that Bee Health require for their high standards of production hygiene.

“The complex set of components was designed and delivered in under 15 days, saving Bee Heath significant downtime costs when the magnesium production run was due to start.

“Since the installation of the new components, Bee Health has not seen any further marking on the outside of the magnesium capsules through their vertical polishing machine and has added more components to their AddParts virtual store.”

Established in 1992, Bee Health is one of the UK’s leading vitamin, mineral and supplement manufacturers. The company produces 400 million capsules and tablets a week at its 80,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility for customers in over 40 countries.

Kristian Chaperlin, Encap assistant manager at Bee Health Ltd, said: “AddParts is an innovative service which is a great fit for us. The team responded quickly and really understood that downtime costs us business. The fact that we can build our own store of parts we know we can get at short notice, without actually taking up space here is a game-changer for us and the more we use AddParts, the more value we see in what it brings for us.”

AddParts supplies digital spare parts for production and packing machines and typically reduces downtime by up to 90% and part costs by up to 50%. Critical components and change parts are 3D scanned on-site and uploaded to a secure, tailored digital inventory. The parts are supplied in like-for-like, traceable materials in 48 hours, and are manufactured at a dedicated, UK-based facility using industrial 3D printers.

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