A machine used by surgeons in delicate operations could eventually provide ways of guaranteeing New Zealand farm exports’ provenance.
The product should help with the angst suffered in sourcing replacement parts for older machinery.
It starts by modelling the required part on a computer using CAD (computer-aided design) software or by scanning the item with a 3-D scanner.
Fully functioning parts can be created by 3-D printing, with the additional benefit that you can create as many as you want.
The filaments and machines used for the 3-D printing process have evolved enormously over the last few years and are durable, strong and very precise. Depending on the material, the parts can be used as temporary or permanent replacements or as guides/templates for manufacturing actual replacements, perhaps from a designated grade of steel.
The company says “the usefulness of an older tractor or machine shouldn’t be determined by the availability of spare parts, so we are happy to offer an alternative to extend their working lives”.