GURNEE, Ill.—For Gallagher Corp., 3D printing provides customers with another option when it comes to creating polyurethane products.
And it's thanks, in part, to some Hollywood inspiration.
The Gurnee-based company has offered both cast molding and injection molding services for years—decades actually.
Now the family-owned firm is branching out with a new approach that John Gallagher, director of product development, said will complement the company's historic manufacturing approach.
Gallagher Corp. started cast molding in 1965 and entered injection molding in the 1980s, John Gallagher said.
Now the firm has installed 3D printing capabilities using Digital Light Synthesis technology developed by Carbon Inc. of Redwood City, Calif.
"What 3D printing brings to the table is the ability to make some complex shapes," Gallagher said, without the need to invest in molds or the creation of prototypes. "We don't see 3D printing as a substitute. I would say they are complementary."
The addition of 3D printing will give customers another choice when they come to the company "and say, 'Hey, can you make this for us?' " he said.
The 3D technology being used by Gallagher allows customers "to make complex product geometries that would have been costly, time consuming or impossible using traditional molding processes," according to the company. This new approach "excels at making complex undercuts, internal channels, surface textures, lattices and features like text, logos, holes, or threads."
The technology eliminates production steps and allows Gallagher to combine what otherwise would be multi-part assemblies into a single product.
Step forward in technology
Carbon's technology uses light and oxygen to create products from a pool of resin and differs from conventional 3D printing that uses a layered approach to build products.