Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 43

Additive Manufacturing SPECIAL SECTION

"we focus more on engineering solutions.
there's nobody else
who really does that
aspect of that. creep
resistance improves
dramatically, which
is critical for photopolymer parts."
of plastic 3-D printing and gain the
strength of metal without the added
cost of metal 3-D printing. Wise says
many in the manufacturing sector
aren't aware they can convert weaker plastic parts to a more robust
composite component through this
process, but word is spreading.
One of the biggest keys to the
company's success is the strength of
its technology, which utilizes electrolytic as well as some electroless
plating processes. Using copper and
nickel in varying ratios, RePliForm
can customize the plating to find the
precise balance between flexibility
and conductivity for the customer's
exact needs. For instance, applying
several microns of copper over a 3-D
printed plastic antenna horn makes
it fully functional. Wise says this is
another significant advantage the
company has over the small number
of competitors who offer this type
of service.
"What sets us apart in the marketplace is that we take a lot of time to
try and understand the customers'
needs and use a coating to try to get
them there," Wise says, adding that
the company's expertise in the 3-D
printing realm also gives it a leg up
on its competitors because it knows
how to process virtually any type of
3-D printed organic material in the
industry, so long as they are com-

repliform does quite a bit
of work coating microwave
horns such as this one.

patible with the company's plating
electrolytes. Most are, Wise says,
but there are a few exceptions such
as metal-filled resins and paper laminate models that are not compatible.
"That's all we do," Wise says.

Speeding Up
The company's expertise and technological edge are critical for its
continued success, especially in
helping it overcome the challenges
it faces in the industry on a day-today basis. "Some of the biggest chal-

lenges we face have to do with the
variability in 3-D parts, especially
on the [fused deposition modeling]
side," Wise says.
Wise explains that RePliForm is a
low-volume production shop, specializing in orders that don't involve
large numbers of parts. "We have
a joke that we tell people where we
say we'll do anything except a lot,"
he says.
That served the company well
when 3-D printing was a much
smaller portion of the manufacJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 manufacturing-today.com

43


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 3
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 4
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 5
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Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 133
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Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 136
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover4
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