Romar is always looking to be at the forefront of manufacturing. The partnership with PMMCo increases Romar’s capability in the emerging field of 3D printing.
Romar’s CEO, Alan Lipman, explains, “At this stage 3D printing is a growing process. People are trying to work out ways to incorporate 3D into manufacturing. Right now in 2018, 3D is primarily used for prototyping and one-off component building, but one day I see 3D printing will be an integral part of the manufacturing process.”
This partnership with PMMCo means that Romar now has the facilities for 3D metal printing and 3D PVC printing under one roof. The collaboration developed from their shared interest in the world’s first 3D printable PVC filament, developed by Chemson Pacific. PMMCo had been working with Chemson developing printing protocols for 3D vinyl since 2014 and is one of the foremost authorities in the 3D printing of vinyl.
Who is PMMCo?
PMMCo is the Perpetual Motion Machine Company, with the tagline ‘Engineering practical solutions for innovators, researchers, teachers, students and dreamers.’
Marc Jolivet, owner/operator of PMMCo says,
“I’ve been within the scientific field for a long time. I’m not a scientist … I’m a technician. I’ve worked at two universities for a fair amount of time, I’ve worked with CSIRO and I’ve worked with private research companies like RESMED in their research and development lab.
My varied background gives me the skills I need to design and build low-volume scientific instruments and equipment.”
3D printing with PVC (various plastics)
Some of PMMCo’s 3D printing machines use a process called FDM (fused deposition modelling). The procedure involves taking a reel of thin plastic wire and feeding it into a heated nozzle which extrudes it onto a platform.
This computer controlled device then builds up a structure using heat and the movement of the wire through the heater block.
PMMCo also has an SLA (stereolithographic apparatus) 3D Printer. The SLA uses a computer controlled laser to solidify a resin. This technology gives better accuracy and finish but has a higher production cost.
Marc is constantly working on using different materials, testing them to see what can be done. He helps Romar to develop small moulds to test manufacturing processes and get the team close to a finished product.
Idea to production
PMMCo has a ‘CAD to CAM’ philosophy: computer assisted design, to computer assisted manufacture. This aligns perfectly with Romar’s six steps to manufacturing.
Marc summarises this philosophy, that takes you from idea to production:
“You have an idea, you come to a guy like me or go to Romar and say, ‘This is my idea.’
The first stage is a CAD drawing of your idea, then we make you a working concept model – and with 3D printing this is very affordable to do. Then you can test out your concept model and make sure it works. Then we’ll think about how to prototype it.
The end goal is that you can manufacture your idea in a way that allows you to sell it within a commercially viable price range.”