For several decades, additive manufacturing have significantly accelerated the processes of creating new products, and often it is even an impulse to come up with a given thing at all and quickly implement it without incurring high costs. 3D printers are used in virtually every possible industry and production sector, allowing the development of innovations in many niche and specialized areas. An example that combines all these aspects is the story of Dirk Dorenbos from Ropes Edge, who, using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, created a kind of new protection that protects protective ropes from damage within sharp edges and successfully produces and sells them to end customers.

Dirk Dorenbos has been working as a specialist ropes technician in the field for 18 years; he is also involved in training, is a controller and IRATA expert, and carries out a number of special projects within commercial rope transport. It is particularly specialized in the safety of technicians using rigging to access the most difficult jobs. With time, Dorenbos noticed an area that needed significant improvement – he decided to create an accessory protecting the rope against damage by sharp edges, which was finally called Vortex.

Initially, due to a lack of skills in the area of ​​parametric design and manufacturing methods, Dorenbos consulted an external designer who helped bring his sketches and concepts to the CAD-grade software screen. The designer cooperated with GoProto Inc., which offered rapid prototyping services and the production of finished plastic and metal parts. Founded in 2018, the company was one of the first in the world to use HP Jet Fusion 3D printers. Today it has a total of nine HP 3D printers – six in the US and three in Australia. Dorenbos made functional prototypes of its product at GoProto, which it subjected to rigorous destructive testing. With the material and product found to exceed initial expectations, it is time to produce final parts.

The material used in production is HP 3D High Reusability (HR) PA 12, characterized by high strength and impact resistance. At the same time, the HP MJF technology turned out to be the best solution for small-series production of accessories, which on the one hand had a complex geometry, difficult to reproduce with other production methods, and on the other, required extremely high durability.

With the help of GoProto, a member of the HP Digital Manufacturing Network (DMN), Dirk Dorenbos’ Ropes Edge has used HP MJF technology to improve its design and manufacture faster and cheaper than traditional manufacturing methods. It would take 6-8 weeks to use injection molding to produce parts, plus a few extra weeks for adjustments, tool modifications and retry. On the other hand, the cheaper additive manufacturing method – FDM, did not guarantee the same quality of the part finish and was less efficient.

Thanks to the MJF Ropes Edge technology, it can produce both new prototypes and final parts within 3-5 days from the date of placing the order. With faster iteration capabilities, the company can innovate and implement changes faster. In addition, customers can order parts locally through the HP DMN manufacturing network – instead of producing them in one place and shipping them by courier, Ropes Edge can have the parts 3D printed at a 3D printing plant from the customer’s city to pick them up directly.


Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

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