LimeLite lights the way for 3D printing in production
Friday 9 March 2018
- Swinburne product designers and lighting manufacturer, LimeLite, have created an energy efficient lighting range
- Each light takes between 10-30 hours to print
Product designers from Swinburne’s School of Design joined forces with Victorian lighting manufacturer, LimeLite, to create an export ready energy efficient lighting range.
Paul Hearne, CEO of LimeLite Sales and Marketing Pty Ltd approached Professor Blair Kuys, Chair of Swinburne’s Department of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design, with the idea to create a range of 3D-printed plastic luminaire housings incorporating advanced control electronics.
Integrating 3D printing into commercial production, was a relative unknown, and along with the design detailing for cooling requirements for luminaires, the project included over 11 months of market research with 3D printing and materials trials at Swinburne.
“Without the Swinburne team this range simply wouldn’t have occurred,” Mr Hearne says. “We are very excited about the OnTrack range and its great export potential.”
The result is a completely new range, LimeLite OnTrack, with five models released in October that show exactly what 3D printing is capable of.
The lights are made from a unique blend of ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer) and other ingredients, created to suit the specific requirements of the track luminaire housings. The material is resistant to extreme heat and is self-extinguishing, meeting the strict requirements of luminaire design standards.
Prior to 2015, LimeLite had focused on simple-geometry folded-metal and injection-moulded plastic luminaires. To create the new OnTrack range, LimeLite invested in a new state-of-the-art production line in their Thomastown factory in Melbourne, including 30 high-end 3D printers.
The dedicated production line consists of 30 Zortrax 3D printers managed by a full-time member of staff purely dedicated to the 3D printing facility. Each light can take between 10–30 hours to print.
“The most exciting part of this project was creating truly unique designs without the manufacturing constraints of plastic injection moulded parts. 3D printing allows complex geometries to be created unlike injection moulding. Using 3D printers also avoids massive investment in retooling, and low risk of an expensive, unpopular design languishing on the shelf. If no one orders it, it simply doesn’t get printed,” explains Professor Kuys.