How Zetamix 3D printing became the best asset for company modernization process


Sapco, a worldwide leader in technical ceramic for combustion


Sapco, a company specialized in the production of ceramic electrodes for the boiler and burner industry, produces feedthroughs, electrodes and high tension leads for over half a century. For a few years, the company has been totally reshaping its production processes and invested on cutting edge machines, especially in a tailor-made assembling one. In this context, SAPCO chose Zetamix to increase machine up-time through lesser maintenance and rework

Machines halt due to an unsuitable material choice for tools

To assemble all the part of the electrode, a tailor-made machine was installed: all the 11 assembling steps are now completely automatized. However, one time consuming step remains: welding pins are used to position two metal plates before the welding process. The current plastic pins the progressively wear out by heat, causing metal plates misalignment, which need further rework. Therefore, the pins need frequent replacements, which generates machines stops, and production loss.

Zetamix welding pin

Zetamix 3D printing: easy made heat resistant part for small series

To solve this issue, Sapco team considered several options such as using other material (ceramic, glass…) However, it is Zetamix 3D printed pins that fit their needs the best: the pins shell life is much longer than plastic ones, since it can withstand high temperature, and has a fairly strong resistance to shocks. Finally, Zetamix pins allow to save up to 50 hours of yearly production
Indeed, the company choose zirconia filament to produce these parts. Zirconia is one of the easiest filaments to print and to sinter from the Zetamix line, and can withstand temperatures up to 800°C. Then, the new welding pins were produced on only 5 days including the printing, debinding and sintering.

Sapco Company is passing through a strategic reshaping of its processes to stay at the forefront in term of customer quality. In this context, the company identified several improvement points but no relevant answer to solve it except Zetamix 3Dprinting. Among all this tooling optimization, machine stops are one of the most critical. By replacing plastic by zirconia, the company drastically increases the duration of use of the welding pins and decreases the time of machine maintenance.