Summary | Using 3D printing, Ricoh produced an unusual component for a Krups coffee machine, ensuring Groupe SEB could keep their promise and offer prompt repair.
The problem | Groupe SEB, a large French consortium and producer of small appliances, boasts many brands, including Krups Coffee – known for their innovative and stylish machine designs.
Groupe SEB guarantees all customers a 10-year repair scheme to ensure the lifetime of their products.. As part of a consumer test, the organisation offers 3D printed spare parts for products including vacuum cleaners, coffee machines, ovens and fryers. The 3D part is provided free of charge, with the customer paying only for the labour to repair.
But Groupe SEB hit a stumbling block when a customer came looking for help after a rare part of their Krups coffee machine failed. Group SEB stock large quantities of common parts, but this particular component –the drip collector for an espresso machine- was not readily available. The part naturally required resistance to strong temperate variation and water vapour, as well as durability.
The solution | Groupe SEB worked alongside the experts at Ricoh to re-create the replacement part as a 3D CAD file, before production on their Selective Laser Sintering system. 3D printing allowed Groupe SEB to turnaround the part rapidly, which simply wouldn’t have been possible with traditional manufacturing processes
The 3D part needed to be water, heat and fatigue resistant. Ricoh’s highly-sought-after polypropylene, the purest on the market, was used as it offers all these characteristics and more.
The project demonstrates how Ricoh’s 3D printing service allows small intricate products to be produced quickly. 3D printing is also the ideal technology for after-sales support; whether this is in the repair of finished consumer products or production line equipment. When volumes are relatively small or parts are out of production, 3D printing is often the only profitable solution. For projects like these, Ricoh works with the customer to redesign parts to provide optimised functionality and characteristics.
Groupe SEB has performed 1000 coffee cycles on a machine with a 3D part, with no deformation or leakage detected. Additive manufacturing has allowed this domestic equipment giant to provide repairs in the right material; tailor made and adapted to each customer.
“This project has allowed us to demonstrate that it is possible to manufacture technical, functional and durable parts with 3D printing, that can be used in real life by our customers.”Sylvain Haasser, 3D printing operations lead, Groupe SEB