With yearly revenues above €650 million in 2018, Italy-based Technogym is one of the largest global operators in the wellness segment. Since it was founded in 1983 by Nerio Alessandri, the company has focused on key values such as environmental sustainability and innovation, which are clearly reflected in its state-of-the-art Technogym Village headquarters. Here you will find its T-Factory and T-Research and Development Department, where over 130 engineers and designers have produced over 142 international patents and more than 93 trademarks.
The Research and Development Department plays a central role in the innovation process at Technogym, along with the Design Centre, which is responsible for the state-of-the-art product design and ergonomics. In the past few years, many of these innovations have been prototyped using a Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL 4.0 3D printer.
Technogym decided to work with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of delta architecture 3D printers and brought a 3D printer into their design department. The company’s primary objective was to visualize and accurately represent the designers’ ideas, intended as the actual shapes of the parts, as well as test how these are going to be in the machines. 3D printing has become a central part of the design team’s workflow, drastically reducing errors during the product development phase and reducing lead time, especially for large size parts.
“In both the conceptualization phase and in the project assistance phase, the Technogym designers need to be certain that what they model in CAD on a computer gives them the same answers in real physics as well,” they explained. “They need a component or product to convince us in real life, and not just on a monitor”. At this time, this is a specific demand of the design department. Of course, the production teams are also always looking for a way to reduce the number of iterations in the production phase.
Why Technogym chose WASP technology
At the beginning, the company was already using a small filament-based system for prototyping in ABS, using a closed materials system. The choice to turn to WASP was dictated by the need to have a system that was easier and more intuitive to use, with lower maintenance costs and – in particular – that could produce very large parts without using support material that would need to be removed using environmentally toxic products.
Technogym’s choice fell on the DeltaWASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL 4.0, which is now located inside a modeling center with sufficient space and tools to manage the full 3D printing workflow. A single system enables the company to produce between 15 and 20 parts, measuring as much as 30 cm in height, each month. The Technogym team uses it mainly for 3D printing style models or to verify shapes, ergonomics and design elements. For this, they mainly use PLA-based materials, which are ideal for concept models and do not release toxic fumes during extrusion and deposition.
Larger, faster, better
The Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL 4.0 system was selected for a number of reasons. One is its large print volume, which enables printing of much larger parts than an average 3D printer. Printing speed and the much lower cost of supported materials were also key factors in Technogym’s decision. Since it uses an open materials system, the type of filament can change along with any new requirement over time.
In addition, while it may seem like a trivial issue, the ability to select a filament’s color is actually very important. It eliminates the time it takes to paint a part or, if the part needs to be painted using a light color, it can be printed directly in white so that the colors stand out without requiring a base layer of white paint. The DeltaWASP INDUSTRIAL 4.0 was also very easy to install and quite affordable for a system of its size. Last but not least, it ensures a very high and repeatable quality standard of all the parts that are printed.
Integration and innovation
Technogym’s development center makes intensive use of a number of machines to produce its functional prototypes. The company also often turns to external providers that can deliver mock-ups and prototypes on demand. 3D printing enabled Technogym to accelerate this process by ensuring that a part is error free even before the final prototype is completed and the actual final parts go into production.
As Technogym’s designers put it “it is extremely important to have access to this kind of ability when you work on developing innovative concepts that have never been done, or even tried, before.” This ability to rapidly innovate has made Technogym a global and technological leader in the wellness segment. Successfully integrating large format 3D printing into its production workflow is going to continue to represent a key advantage for us going forward.
This article was published in collaboration with WASP.