Solving Manufacturing Problems With Markforged | SQP Engineering

Published on : 16 June, 2023

The Customer

SQP Engineering, a family-owned and operated business based in Perth, Australia, has been serving over 100 customers since its establishment in 2006.

Initially focused on providing precision-machined products for mining equipment, SQP has expanded its services to include industries such as oil, maritime, and defense, thanks to the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies like robotics and additive manufacturing. This growth is also supported by their ISO 9001 certification.

The owner of SQP, David Miller, recognizes the importance of nurturing local talent and takes pride in employing three apprentices, two of whom are his sons.

The Challenge

While SQP Engineering excels in machining, they often receive requests for specialized parts that are either prohibitively expensive or simply impossible to produce through traditional machining methods. These requests posed a challenge for the company as they represented missed business opportunities. SQP recognized the need for a solution.

One particular instance demanded the production of a wireline counter cover for mining equipment systems, a specialized part that the team was unable to create within the required timeframe using their existing equipment. It became clear that machining the part would be neither cost-effective nor capable of delivering the required precision. Moreover, their current polymer 3D printer was inadequate in terms of speed, as each printing cycle took nine hours, and the quality of the prints fell short of expectations.

"While it was possible to print the parts with our old 3D printer, the FX20 is really what made printing viable for production, due to its speed and surface finish."

– David Miller, Owner, SQP Engineering

The Solution

In light of the difficulties faced in manufacturing crucial components for their customers, SQP Engineering determined that a larger and faster composite 3D printer would be the ideal solution for producing these specialized parts efficiently. This would not only enable the production of components that were previously impossible to machine but also relieve the strain on their CNC machines, allowing them to focus on manufacturing other valuable production parts. After careful consideration, SQP's owner, David Miller, concluded that the FX20 3D printer perfectly suited their needs.

With the implementation of the FX20, the wireline counter cover, which used to take nine hours to print, can now be produced in just 2.5 hours. To date, SQP has successfully printed 100 covers using this technology.

"Printed parts from the FX20 look 10 times better than the ones we printed before. Customers are completely blown away when they see the surface finish. Once I showed our customer the new and improved part he was blown away as well. His products now look a hell of a lot better." — David Miller, Owner, SQP Engineering.

SQP Engineering also added the Markforged Metal X system to its repertoire of additive capabilities. By combining the FX20 and Metal X systems, SQP has become a comprehensive one-stop shop for its customers. They can now manufacture a wide range of production-grade parts that were previously unattainable through traditional machining methods while offering better pricing and faster turnaround times.

"The FX20 was a no-brainer for me. The platform, the build size, the enhanced additive manufacturing technologies — it gives me an edge above a lot of the competition."

– David Miller, Owner, SQP Engineering

The Success and Future

For SQP Engineering, the FX20 and Metal X systems represent a pathway to providing superior solutions to their customers. The ability to quickly produce a diverse range of high-quality parts through 3D printing enables SQP's customers to obtain challenging components that would otherwise be difficult to source. Additionally, it offers the option of obtaining machinable parts at a lower cost and with faster delivery, all without compromising on quality.

With numerous potential applications in mind, David Miller is excited about the possibilities that the FX20 and Metal X systems will unlock for his business. "We plan to expand into the medical, aviation, and agriculture sectors using the FX20. It allows us to broaden our horizons and manufacture more of the components Western Australia requires."

As an early adopter of Industry 4.0 and proud of its technologically advanced machine shop, SQP embraces innovation. David firmly believes that embracing additive manufacturing is essential for remaining competitive in the present and future.

"My two boys work for me, they're in their first and second years of apprenticeship. I want to continue being more technically advanced than the competition. This technology is evolving as we speak. If I don't get involved with it, and if I don't get my boys involved with it, I'll be letting them and SQP Engineering down at the same time." — David Miller, Owner, SQP Engineering

"If you're going to be competitive, you need to have a solution for all aspects of manufacturing. Not just what we've been doing yesterday. We need to evolve and embrace the manufacturing technologies of tomorrow as well."

– David Miller, Owner, SQP Engineering

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