Bringing production up to speed with SLS
At the ‘Atelier Gorge de Loup’ in Lyon, students undergo hands-on training for technical professions. To respond better to their client’s needs, Denis Brude and his team are also including modern 3D printing equipment like the Sintratec S2 into their workshop.
An unconventional private school
L’Atelier d’Apprentissage de Gorge de Loup is a privately run mechanical school based in Lyon, France. Unlike most private institutions, it is completely free for the apprentices who start their four-year education there at the age of 15 and above. «The slogan of our production school is ‘make to learn’», explains workshop instructor Denis Brude. «Clients approach us with their projects, and our students manufacture the pieces which we then sell and subsequently fund the school with.» In many cases, the school’s customers become the future employers of the graduates.
Denis Brude is a workshop instructor at the Atelier d’Apprentissage de Gorge de Loup in Lyon.
The students have access to a variety of traditional and modern production tools.
Building a modern workshop
During their vocational apprenticeship, the aspiring technicians have access to a variety of traditional manufacturing machinery such as lathes or CNC mills to produce the required plastic and metal parts. In recent years, to keep up with modernisation, the school has started to expand its workshop with additive methods. «Modern technologies are important because we are preparing our students for professional life, where they also need to know how to work a 3D scanner or a 3D printer», Denis Brude adds.
Implementing laser sintering
After using a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer for a few years, the customer requirements for 3D printed parts have grown and could no longer be met with FDM. Therefore, the Ecole de production recently invested into a Sintratec S2, a compact selective laser sintering (SLS) system. «With the Sintratec S2 we now produce pieces for customers, as well as internal parts and production components which are already in our order book», Denis Brude says. For the instructor, the key benefits of SLS are the precision, the surface quality and the durability of the parts.
The production school recently invested in a Sintratec S2 to better respond to their client’s needs.
Printing multiple materials
Thanks to the modularity of the Sintratec S2, multiple materials can be processed on the same printer. The production school takes advantage of this and prints with robust PA12 nylon as well as with flexible TPE elastomer depending on the application. With TPE, for example, Denis Brude and his students recently realized a gearbox buffer block for a customer who asked them to industrialize an agricultural machine. «We did a test to see if this buffer block could be 3D printed instead of milled – and the customer tested and verified it, so we can now start a small production of the first series», Brude explains.
Proven in the field: a 3D printed buffer block is used in an agricultural machine.
SLS vs. conventional manufacturing: 3D printing can effectively replace costly production processes.
Crucial time and cost saver
After lengthy research with Sintratec partner KREOS, Denis Brude is glad to have finally found a suitable machine for the workshop. «The advantage of SLS is that certain expensive industrial processes, such as the turning of cogwheels, can be quickly replaced with 3D printing», Denis Brude summarizes. «That way we can save a lot of money and time» – an aspect that cannot be neglected for the private school. With the help of their bright apprentice minds, the full production capacity of the Sintratec system will certainly be unleashed in the near future.
“With the SLS process we achieve the precision, the surface quality,and the durability that we require – in a cost-effective way.”