Canon Production Printing develops and manufactures high-tech printing products and workflow software for the commercial printing market. The product offering includes continuous-feed and cut-sheet printers for high-volume printing and publishing, and large-format printers for display graphics and CAE/GIS applications. The company was founded in 1877 in Venlo, the Netherlands, and today, its headquarters is still located in Venlo. Canon Production Printing has R&D and production facilities in The Netherlands, Germany, Romania and Singapore. In total the company employs around 2800 employees.
Vision of Pezy Group
At Pezy Group, we have a passion to create innovative products. Pushing technological boundaries in the fields of mechanics and applied plastics inspires us. The use of plastics offers the possibility to create distinguishing products in the fields of design, performance or price. Replacing a metal part with a plastic part often means that other properties of a product need to be adjusted as well. This was also the case for this product. Taking a mono metal part and simply transferring it to plastic design creates many missed opportunities, such as neglected design features and neglected possible cost savings. During this collaboration with Canon Production Printing, we made sure that we fully exploited every possibility for improvement.
The product that we will discuss, is one of the top quality model carriages of Canon Production Printing that’s based on inkjet technology. The carriage contains 9 ink cartridges which move with high speed and high accuracy over the to be printed material. Due to increased demands on cost savings, speed, and accuracy, the existing metal solution was in need of improvement.
The new metal carriage had 9 metal shapes which held the print heads. At the start of the process, two questions had to be answered:
- Is it possible to make these print head supports in plastic?
- How would the mounting of these print heads supports look like?
The goal of the project was reducing the production costs and product weight by replacing the metal solution by plastic.
Soon it was decided that it would be more profitable to look at the complete carriage instead of only the metal print head supports. The existing metal carriage consisted of 60 parts which were welded together in a special frame. The bending requirements of the frame were very high, creating a challenge for the plastic solution.
Even when using a high filled material like PPS 40% GF, the stiffness of plastic is relatively poor in comparison to metal. Studying the requirement it turned out that the functional requirement could be lowered 5 times. This made the full plastic solution feasible. The material had to fulfil also other requirements like electrical conductivity and chemical resistances.
From the beginning we used FEM to investigate a preliminary 3D file of the initial concept. A first stress/ strain analysis and Moldflow analysis were performed. Next, the calculations were done based on the 20%CF PPS. These results were very promising. Luckily, the client was positive about the results of the feasibility study as well, and we agreed on a further development of the product.
The effort in the beginning of the project gave the idea of slow development, but resulted in a quick and reliable engineering and mould making project. One of the main risks was acceptance of a plastic solution by the client. Therefore, the decision was made to use a full scale prototype mould to proof its functionality. Reproducibility, shrinkage, stiffness and long term behaviour could also be tested and proven because of this. The full scale prototype mould also offered the possibility to test several materials before ordering a complete hardened production tool. Due to proper understanding of the requirements, it was possible to get the dimensional tolerances on a level which could guarantee full functionality and a good injection process.
The results of this project were impressive with a cost reduction of 80% and a weight reduction 40%. These results were met due to the whole team working on the project, consisting of Canon Production Printing, Pezy Group, HTP, L&V and Rosti. This project proved that it’s extremely important to build the right team. All participants need to have an open mind for opportunities and a good common sense about the risks. This way, creative and innovative solutions can be found.
“The collaboration with Pezy Group started in 2003. In my opinion, Pezy Group has a very good approach by first conducting a thorough research into the feasibility, implementing this according to a clear plan, and then writing a plan for the next steps. There is immediate attention to the potential risks, and how these risks can be reduced. I believe that the level of knowledge at Pezy Group in all areas of plastic product development is very high.
During the engineering phase, the design was established in close collaboration with Pezy Group, the manufacturability risks were reduced using a soft-tool mold and the functional tests were successfully carried out at Canon Production Printing. I can say that the flexibility in all phases, the clarity of communication and the team spirit at Pezy Group is very good and pleasant. As a result, the collaboration went very smoothly.
Due to the collaboration with Pezy Group, the project turned out to be very successful. Especially with such an innovative development as this plastic carriage, it’s difficult to choose the best approach. Pezy Group has turned out to be the ideal partner for us. Recently I had a complex plastic issue again, and Pezy Group helped me very well with the development and realization. In short, I would certainly recommend Pezy Group as a partner in solving complex plastic issues.”