Faster iterations everytime
Snow Business uses Ultimaker to speed up its iterative R&D process, achieving significant cost savings along the way
“With the Ultimaker, I can print a nozzle in 7 hours, I can test it, make a small adjustment and print another one. There’s also a huge cost difference between outsourcing this and doing it myself. In-house 3D printing cost me a couple of euros worth of plastic whereas with outsourcing it was £125 every time I wanted to make a design change.”
Paul Denney, Head of Research at Snow Business Internationality
Snow Business – Introduction
Snow Business is the world leader in snow and winter effects. The company develops snow machines that are used in the film and TV industry as well as on Christmas fairs and other live events. They work with big-budget production companies and are featured in films such as 007: James Bond, Kingsmen, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. A major focus of R&D is the machine’s nozzle, which is where the machine mixes air with fluid to create the snow effect. The nozzles have a complex air and fluid flow geometry, which makes it impossible to cast them. The only way to create new nozzles is by 3D printing. They are developed through an iterative process of print, try, adjust the model, and repeat – often taking numerous revisions before reaching a design that matches the high-quality standards the company set. Snow Business uses their Ultimaker 3D printers for prototyping, functional testing, and creating the final nozzles for the snow machines.
Previously, production of the nozzles was outsourced to SLS service bureaus. The turnaround time for this outsourcing solution was anything up to 7 days and it was £125 minimum order. Since the development of new nozzles is done through an iterative process that requires numerous revisions, this significantly held up the R&D process, so Paul started looking for a solution that he could use himself on-site
Paul got the Ultimaker for prototyping and producing new nozzles for the snow machines. In stark contrast with the outsourcing solution, he can now print new nozzles in a matter of hours and at almost no cost. He is no longer dependent on suppliers’ agendas when developing new nozzle designs as he can simply print a new design from his desk, test it, make small alterations, and print a new one