Jan 30, 2017 | By Benedict

Telecommunications company BT has spent £25,000 ($31,000) on a 3D printer for its distribution center in Leicestershire, England. The 3D Systems MJP 2500 Plus 3D printer is being used for prototyping and creating spare parts.

BT (British Telecommunications) is a British multinational company that provides telephone, internet, and television services in roughly 180 countries around the world. Last year it acquired cellphone network EE for £12.5 billion, and currently has assets worth more than £38 billion. As in many industries, telecommunications can benefit from new and advanced manufacturing techniques, whether for installing new phone lines, producing internet routers, or simply fixing up existing equipment. Because of this, BT has recently installed a 3D System 3D printer at its distribution center in Leicestershire, where it will use the additive manufacturing machine for a number of purposes.

Since purchasing its new 3D printer in December, BT has wasted no time in setting it up, with the ProJet MJP 2500 Plus reportedly fired up for the first time in mid-January. BT says it is using the printer for various purposes, including fabrication of spare and replacement parts that are no longer available from suppliers, fast production of urgently needed parts, and rapid prototyping of new items during the research and development stage of product development. The telecommunications company believes the 3D printer will help improve many aspects of life at the distribution center.

Speaking to V3, BT’s Andy Fielden, CIO Supply Chain and Cables, explained how the 3D printer has allowed BT to “provide the stock items at the point of use without having to order, store, and distribute the item—thus significantly reducing cost and time to market.” He added that the 3D Systems machine has enabled BT to “print low volume items for our internal engineers” and “easily prototype and test new ideas.”

The idea of investing big money into a high-quality 3D printer came about after one engineer suggesting that 3D printed plastic needles (below) could be used to thread fibers. The idea was eventually turned into actuality on a MarkerBot Replicator 2X, a much more affordable desktop 3D printer, and the 3D printed pieces helped save the research lab a small amount of money. Before this, an engineer at Openreach (the BT subsidiary that deals with the UK’s telephone cable network) had built her own 3D printer to show others how the technology could benefit BT.

BT staff have said that, as 3D printing technology improves, they will consider adding to their additive manufacturing equipment, with the main focus of the technology being small-batch production of various parts. BT Lead Consultant Iain Monteath told V3 that BT was particularly attracted to 3D printers “that let you print flexible and solid parts in one,” since they could enable the company to print entire objects in one go.

The 3D Systems ProJet MJP 2500 Plus has a build volume of 295 x 211 x 142 mm, a resolution of 800 x 900 x 790 DPI with 32 μ layers, and a typical accuracy of ±0.1016 mm per 25.4 mm.



Posted in 3D Printer



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my name wrote at 2/17/2017 10:35:37 PM:

is this an adverticement for 3D Systems?

Mike wrote at 1/31/2017 7:30:24 PM:

Why is this news? A company buys a mid-range 3D printer. Who cares?

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