Case Studies

We assist companies in an ever-growing range of industries, such as: automotive, industrial machines and devices, aerospace, consumer electronics, consumer goods, and fashion.

If you’re interested in adding value, reducing costs, creating sustainable products, or creating something completely unique, that traditional manufacturing cannot handle, then Additive Manufacturing could be the perfect manufacturing technology for your projects.

Below are a few case studies as an example of how we helped some respected clients with their requirements.

 

CROFT FILTERS PROVIDES RAPID RESPONSE FOR TCO UK



Leading filter manufacturer, Croft Filters, has helped global oilfield services company, TCO UK, develop state-of-the-art fluid handling equipment as part of a wider project for the oil and gas industry. North West based Croft was approached by TCO UK, which specialises in glass barrier plugs and chemical injection systems, to design and manufacture high quality filter elements that were capable of handling aggressive and problematic fluid. Following an in-depth consultation, Croft’s in-house engineers designed and supplied the bespoke filtration elements in a matter of days, in addition to completing additional blanks for other elements. TCO UK also enlisted the support of Croft Filters’ sister company, Croft Additive Manufacturing (CAM), to refine the design of a complex component that was integral to the company’s specialist fluid handling devices. Previously, these components had taken between 8 and 12 weeks to produce, but CAM, which specialises in innovative metal 3D printing, was able to manufacture them within a dramatically reduced timeframe, completing the order in just one week.

 

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Keith Woodford, global product line director at TCO UK, said: “We enlisted Croft Filters due to the team’s expertise and industry experience, and the company’s ability to meet our exacting specifications. The housings that the filter elements needed to fit into were restricted in size, but Croft’s flexibility and specialist 3D printing technology meant design constraints could be easily overcome to ensure our project remained on schedule, preventing any costly delays.”

Neil Burns, co-director at Croft Filters and CAM, added: “Our brief was to design and manufacture filter elements as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the objects produced were of an incredibly high quality. By completing our processes within a reduced timeframe, TCO UK was able to maintain its outputs and keep its wider project on course.”

GETTING EAGER FOR EIGER



When a leading manufacturer of bead mills and laboratory/production mixers needed help, Croft Additive Manufacturing were ready and able to take up the challenge. An urgent request was received by Croft Filters Ltd’s staff for a specialist wedge wire product similar to a type of filter but used in a bead mill. The wedge wire product needed to be produced quickly as the client had been let down by another supplier whom thought they could make it but stood down at the 11th hour.

Eiger Torrance of Warrington, Cheshire had a very special design brief to work to and were having difficulties locating someone who could firstly manufacture this sophisticated product and secondly to get one made within a few days as they had a customer order held up awaiting the part. The component Eiger Torrance needed typically would be on a lead time of anywhere from 4-6 weeks with most Wedge Wire manufacturers, but as Croft Filters has a sister company that specialises in 3D Metal printing, this was made in just 2 days from confirmation of order. There were additional benefits having this 3D printed, the part was manufactured as single piece construction, often boasting more strength and rigidity over traditionally welded together assemblies and in many cases has a reduction in weight too.

Eiger Wedge

 

Mr Alan Poole, Spares & Service manager at Eiger Torrance Warrington said “Thanks to Croft we were able to fulfil delivery of a clients new bead mill machine on time, we haven’t used either of the Croft companies before but will now be placing our future orders with them as not only were we impressed by the quality and fast turnaround of our product – but discovering 3D metal printing has opened up so many avenues and I’m sure there will be more products we will be ordering using this fantastic technology”.

Neil Burns, Director of both Croft Filters Ltd and Croft Additive Manufacturing also commented “3D metal printing has been around for years but it is only very recently through media coverage that the full benefits are being understood by the public and industry.” He added “Croft invested in a metal additive manufacturing machine over 2 years ago and has already produced many innovative products that were not possible using traditional manufacturing methods. It’s great to hear a success story of this kind where our services had such a valuable impact for our client.”

CROFT TEAMS UP WITH ESR FOR SPACE MISSION


Specialist manufacturer, Croft Additive Manufacturing (CAM), and ESR Space have combined expertise to conduct a study into the use of additive manufacturing (AM) and use prototypes to develop bespoke spacecraft mechanisms.
The research, which was funded by Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation and Space Technology CEOI-ST, aimed to exploit recent developments in manufacturing technology and create innovative, high-performance components for use in demanding mechanism applications.
While the main emphasis of the study was on spacecraft applications, it also supported the development of supply chain capability in AM and the suitability of such processes in a range of markets, including telecommunications, science and robotics.
Grant Munro, project manager at ESR Space, explained the partnership selection processes: “During early discussions with Croft, we identified a number of synergies in the key skills it has developed as a business. It was an obvious choice to harness the process developments in this programme of work since Croft is well aligned with the technical objectives set out at the start of the programme.”IMG_3144b (3)-RecoveredIMG_3146 (3)-Recovered
In space applications, there are a number of disadvantages to using a liquid or grease-based lubricant, such as low temperature viscosity, evaporation, loss of lubricant and contamination of other parts of the spacecraft.
To address these issues, two concept designs were developed using Croft’s Realiser SLM-250 machine. These were both focused on managing the lubricant within the bearing system more effectively, with a particular emphasis on the challenges of the space environment.
Neil Burns, director at Croft Additive Manufacturing, said: “It is always advised to have several options when seeking to identify a bespoke solution using innovative technologies. Following the creation and analysis of the two prototypes in this instance, it was deemed more valuable to develop the lubricant retaining cage further.”
Grant continued: “We learnt a number of valuable lessons during this study, the most important of which was in the design process – while AM technology can give greater design freedom relative to conventional machining, it is not without constraints. In terms of next steps, a roadmap has been created to show timescales for exploitation within the space industry and beyond.”
Neil concluded: “All in all, this programme has been a huge success and has delivered a number of promising technologies for further development. It has opened doors for us to work in collaboration with a new partner and introduce them to the potential of additive manufacturing, something that we’re always working towards at Croft.”
While it is likely that the component developed will be initially used for spacecraft applications alone, the use of the technology in other industries such as nuclear, aerospace and medical will be explored in parallel.

New Case Studies soon ….