Staying competitive with 3D printing
As one of the world’s prestigious bike manufacturers that keeps pushing limits, Giant was looking for ways to further improve bike designs and progress in international tournaments. The company turned to 3D printing and purchased a Fortus 360mc™ 3D printer, bringing prototyping in-house to accelerate the R&D effort of their new bicycle frames.
Using FDM® technology, the Fortus 3D printer creates three-dimensional models with ABS- M30™, an engineering-grade thermoplastic that possesses higher tensile, impact and flexural strength, and is up to 70 percent stronger than standard ABS. Models printed with ABS-M30 are able to withstand high-impact post-processes, such as sanding and drilling.
Before implementing 3D printing in its product development process, Giant outsourced its frame prototyping to vendors using traditional manufacturing methods, which took at least 7 to 10 days from sending out the CAD design file to receiving a prototype. However, with the increasingly competitive market, the need for accelerated product launch and more innovative designs, the team had to find a better solution to streamline their product development cycle.
“Apart from the prolonged lead time, each prototype amounted to approximately $1,000 USD. Also, every design iteration would cost the same even though only minor amendments were needed. We could only afford to modify the design twice at most, and occasionally had to compromise on quality,” said Morder Yang, X-Road Category Designer at Giant’s Cycling Innovation Center.