3D Printing is a style of Additive Manufacturing where a part is made by stacking layers of a liquid material that hardens into a defined shape. Specifically, AOP’s machines use a technique called Stereolithography (SLA). For each layer, the part is submerged in a tank of liquid, photo sensitive polymer resin. An Ultraviolet (UV) laser is activated to solidify the resin at specific locations. The part is then raised slightly, and the process repeats for the next layer. Once all layers have “printed”, the part is washed in alcohol, cured in a UV chamber, then sanded or polished to the desired finish.
SLA printing is a fast, low-cost method for prototyping and for low volume plastic fabrication. When only making one or a few parts, it is usually 5-10 times cheaper than CNC machining. Upfront setup costs are minimal, especially compared to machining and molding. It is a great choice for rapid prototyping, as parts are created in a matter of hours, so turnaround times are measured in days, rather than weeks for more traditional methods. SLA also allows for complex internal and external structures that could not otherwise be machined. Tolerances can be tight (as small as ±.004 inch) and surface finishes are better than other 3D Printing methods, like FDM.
What can be printed?
There are a wide variety of resin types on the market, allowing for plastic parts to be made with specifically desired qualities including hardness, elasticity, translucence, thermal resistance and many more. Therefore, this is a good method for prototyping any new part design in most industries. It is also a preferred method for making parts not easily machined due to complex geometries, internal complexities, or thin walls that would be stressed by machining operations. SLA printing is popular for mold making, general engineering prototypes, and is especially popular in the dental and medical industry due to its biocompatible resins.
Why Choose AOP Technologies?
AOP has earned an excellent reputation servicing the fluid power industry with premium product offerings for over 55 years. AOP was founded in 1963 in Portland, Oregon under the name Air-Oil Products Corporation. In the early days, our business was a distribution of sealing products servicing fluid power customers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. We soon became the Pacific Northwest’s largest distributor of Parker Hannifin seal products.
Within the next few years, our company expanded and diversified to include the distribution of pneumatic and automation components. Then in 1999, we expanded our business yet again, this time to include contract manufacturing services. We have since become an industry leader with our focus on quality work, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery.
Today we have a 20,000 square foot facility in Auburn, Washington with over 5,000 square feet dedicated to industrial contract manufacturing and plastics machining services including medical device contract manufacturing. Our contract manufacturing division is staffed by highly trained assembly professionals and machinists who are supported by our experienced engineering staff, production management, and quality control specialists.
Our entire staff participates in a rigorous training program built upon a comprehensive library of processes developed through our ISO9001:2015 certified quality program. All departments within our organization are audited annually both internally by our quality control department, and externally by an accredited 3rd party auditor. This is done to ensure both quality and consistency in manufacturing for the customers we serve.
Our business is generally viewed as a high-mix low volume contract manufacturer. We boast an extensive assortment of specialty tooling and automated equipment giving our technicians the ability to very quickly convert assembly lines and ramp up production.
We honor the trust our customers put in us and view those relationships as partnerships. We realize that what makes us successful as an organization is our customer’s success. To that end, we continually invest in tooling, technology, and training in order to provide our customers with premium quality and exceptional value. Our aim is to strive to be the premium solution for manufacturing services for the customers we serve.
If you have a project opportunity and are considering the outsourcing of manufacturing services, we ask that you contact one of our representatives. Let us show you how partnering with AOP Technologies can add value to your business and give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.