Postnord TPL, third-party logistics, handles warehousing services and transport solutions for its customers so that they can focus on their core business. The company’s solutions include warehousing, customs service, distribution, assembly, and product controls.
Electronic products, such as TV boxes, are constantly changing – a model is rarely on the market for very long. At the same time, there are many different manufacturers, which together means that there are many different models on the market at the same time.
PostNord TPL collects returns of this type of product from end customers. Before they can be sent out to a new customer, the product must be tested to ensure that it works. This is done by plugging all cables – up to eight – into the product.
To reduce lead times, PostNord TPL uses cable racks, model-adapted racks where all cables are pre-assembled in the right place and at the right angle so that you can insert all the cables with a single touch. The company has historically milled these cable racks into metal. But creating custom cable racks for small editions of electronics products becomes too expensive and takes too long. This means that all cables in these cases must instead be mounted by hand, which gives longer lead times.
– We need to be able to quickly adapt to new electronics products, says Jonas Wingdén, technical specialist at PostNord TPL.
By starting to use the 3D solutions solution from the sister company PostNord Strålfors, PostNord TPL has been able to produce cable racks even for small editions of electronic products. The products have been ordered by Jonas Wingdén via PostNord Strålfors 3D portal.
– I am not a designer so I received design help from PostNord Strålfors. Then I just had to go in and virtually check the end result before they printed out the product.
– With 3D printing, we get a very short production time. I can send in a new layout and within a week we will have it printed and ready. It gives us a lot more flexibility in our flows.
Among other things, cable racks have been printed for a TV box model where the staff previously picked in and out of cables 24,000 times a month.
Thanks to the 3D-printed cable rack, they no longer need to plug in each cord by hand. This means that we save a lot of time for each operator on a daily basis.
At the same time, it is good for the operators’ working environment when they no longer need small pills with cords, which reduces the strain on the hands and fingers. And above all, the rapid production of cable racks has shortened the start-up time for new customer projects.
– Now it’s eight weeks faster than before. That’s a real improvement.
As there is a high turnover of electronics models, PostNord TPL will use the 3D-solutions solution on an ongoing basis.
– The goal is for us to 3D-print cable racks for smaller projects as soon as they arrive.
At the same time, the possibilities with 3D printing have opened up new paths of thought and opportunities in other parts of production. For example, PostNord TPL can have flows where thousands of units need to be charged simultaneously. Today, there are charging stations that can handle about twenty units at a time, but no one can handle ten thousand.
– 3D printing opens up the possibility of constructing a surface that can solve it, which has not been possible before. 3D-print changes the game plan and provides completely new business opportunities, says Jonas Wingdén.