Transforming EDMS Australia into an advanced manufacturing business starts with the introduction of Markforged industrial 3D printers.
Mechanical engineers Dean Bishop and Chris Pitcher have been at the centre of making advanced manufacturing a reality at the company.
Founded in 2005, EDMS Australia has a fabrication and construction division in Townsville and an engineering and advanced manufacturing division in Cairns.
Their workforce is mainly made up of mechanical and electrical engineers working in industries like Defence, construction, and agriculture.
“One of the main reasons we got the Markforged 3D printers was to promote innovation in the company, give us a different way of thinking, and become more advanced in the defence industry,” Bishop said.
He believes introducing the 3D printers has improved efficiency in two main ways.
“We have the rapid prototyping, which these systems introduce, then also the production of end user products,” Bishop explained.
“Our clients throughout North Queensland, particularly in the past year, have relied on product development overseas, which would usually take about six to nine months to prototype. With EDMS, they can come in on a Friday afternoon, and by Monday morning, they’ve got that prototype ready to go.”
Although most prospective clients understand the concept of 3D printing, Bishop and Pitcher said it is challenging to convince them the printed materials are structurally sound.
“There are a lot of recreational machines with the potential for rapid prototyping, but they have a lot of limitations based in terms of what can actually be printed,” Pitcher explained. “With the Markforged machines, we can get down to accuracies of about 50 microns.
“For a commercial client wanting a prototype of their end user product, in terms of what it will look like and what it will feel like, industrial-scale machines provide a much more realistic outcome.”
EDMS Australia produces its own high-quality engineering, sources all its designs, and delivers fully detailed workshop drawings, fabrication and site installation drawings from its engineering and construction division.
“We aim to bring the manufacturing back to Australia. We want to provide cost-effective strategies for our clients, and ideally use advanced technology,” Bishop said.
With the Australian Made movement gaining momentum, the driving factor behind the EDMS business is quality – while keeping everything local and supporting local businesses.
“It’s important to keep manufacturing local in places like Cairns. Unfortunately, in regional centres, it is not a simple matter of ordering something and it arrives in a couple of hours, or even weeks,” Pitcher said.
With customers favouring tight lead times, local manufacturing is more crucial than ever, said Bishop.
“It turns a lead time from what could be a 7-day lead time to a 24-hour lead time or even less,” he said. “Logistically, it’s more difficult to stock products. In Townsville, it’s always a challenge, being one of those regional hubs.”
EDMS Australia services all sorts of clients — from government organizations to small businesses — and is capable of helping anyone who wants to develop a prototype.
Since introducing the 3D printers to their business, the company has been targeting a different client base from their existing clients through word-of-mouth marketing.
“This advanced technology offered by Markforged reinforces that supportability from someone local, who has fantastic ideas, and wants to make that a reality,” Bishop said.
“We can service individual customers with prototyping and product development, all the way to putting parts on navy vessels.”