June 2023 Newsletter
What's Happening at Coex3D?
The short answer is that LOTS has been happening at Coex 3D. As you have likely seen from previous emails, we recently moved into a new building in Green Bay, WI. So what led us to moving?
Up until July of 2022 Coex had been owned by a group of folks who have a varied portfolio of businesses. For various reasons it was determined that Coex3D simply wasn't a good "fit" within that portfolio. It was at that time that Todd Louthain, who had been leading Coex 3D decided to purchase the business from the previous owners. After the purchase was complete it was very obvious that Coex 3D simply needed more room! The search for a new building began last year and with commercial real estate being tough, it took some time to find just the right building for the future home of Coex 3D. After a long search a great building in Green Bay was available and Todd jumped at the chance to buy it and get the business moved in. "We finally were able to start moving our stuff into the new place in March of this year. The building is perfect for our business and I was so excited to get our business moved" says Todd. "It's an enormous undertaking to move an entire manufacturing facility, finished goods storage and of course the front offices, but without going through these efforts Coex 3D would not be able to grow in the way that we need to". The new space allows for growth from a manufacturing standpoint which is very important to everyone at Coex. In addition, the new building provided Coex the ability to substantially expand its in house 3D printing and customer showroom area. Local customers love stopping in to see samples of finished prints, many printers in action and when time permits getting a personal tour of the manufacturing process.
Print Services Expansion
For obvious reasons it is important for Coex3D to be knowledgeable on all types of FDM printers. "We like to have a familiarity with the machines that our customers are using. For that reason it's important to be able to have easy access to lots of different brands and models of printers" says Josh Bonnin - Director of 3D Print Services and Operations for Coex3D. "We are now finally in a building where we have room for more equipment and we can make additions to our print lab in order for us to keep up with the rapidly changing market, it's made a huge difference to the way that we do business and offer support for our customers". In addition to offering technical support and advice, Coex3D can now offer a much larger range of engineering and printing services for our customers that may need help finishing a design or can't keep up with their printing needs in house. Often times it comes down to print size. Coex3D can surely help with all of that by having machines of all sizes available to take on anything from one piece orders to large orders that may require the use of a print farm. "We are always happy to take on print jobs of all sizes" says Josh, "it's fun and rewarding to work with our customers to get them the parts that they need. Often times through conversation we can work together to find ways that additive manufacturing can help build their business or provide cost and time savings. The projects that we take on are as varied as the customers that we support"
Like most businesses it is customer feedback that drives innovation and change. Coex3D is very familiar with this because they stay in close contact with their customers. "Although we cannot change the way we do things based on every single customer suggestion, we do watch for trends in the feedback from our customers" says Todd Louthain. "A very common topic from our customers has been around being as eco-friendly as we can" In 2022 Coex3D introduced a PLA called CoexNext™ - this is a filament that is made from out of spec material gathered up during the daily machine start up and during diameter changes. Unfortunately production waste is an unavoidable part of filament manufacturing. Coex 3D saw this as an opportunity and invested in equipment to allow this scrap to be gathered up, ground back down into a pellet size and then re-run through the machines to produce their popular CoexNext™
New 1KG Eco-Friendly Spool
Coex3D had been using the same style 1kg spool for many years. The plastic spools are made from ABS and ultimately they are a recyclable item however they take up lots of room in someone's recycle bin. "Our customers have been asking for a solution to controlling their waste and we saw this as a great opportunity to make an important change in how we do things" says Josh Bonnin. "I actually began working with a spool vendor to design an eco-friendly spool that would hold up to the temps of a filament dryer, work well with any printer and give our customers something that would be easy to dispose of after use" Coex 3D was very close to introducing a new spool style last year and then it became obvious that the Bambu Lab series of printers with optional AMS unit was more than just a passing fad. "Our plastic spools didn't quite fit in the AMS unit and the new spool was designed to the same specs as the plastic one- I had to make a quick change" said Josh. Coex 3D began production on these new 1kg spools in late April and the transition is happening quickly. All 1kg spools (except the CoexFlex™ line of products) will now be produced using this newly designed spool made from a recycled material. It is a rigid chipboard material with a cardboard core and it is 100% recyclable after use. Equally important is that it now fits and performs perfectly in the Bambu Lab AMS unit. Not every product has made the transition yet but the transition process is well under way with the transition likely to be complete in about a month.
What's Coming Next From Coex 3D
As things change with printer technology and materials it is important to always keep an eye on the future. ASA filament is a material type that is likely to be one that could largely replace ABS in terms of FDM printing. ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) is industrial grade material for 3D Printing. Although very similar to ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), ASA has some very significant advantages. Most importantly ASA is much easier to print with than ABS because it has minimal warping and better bed adhesion. Mark Szymanski - 3D Print Specialist at Coex 3D has been beating this drum loudly at Coex 3D. With Marks expertise and guidance, Coex 3D has been actively testing a variety of ASA compounds to find the perfect blend suitable for the majority of customers. "We believe that we finally found an ASA that has all of the qualities that we have been looking for," says Mark. "Our customers range from home hobbyists all the way up to skilled engineers and everything in between. When we put our name onto a spool of filament that we manufacture it is very important that we find something that can be used by the majority of people that count on us for their filament. This ASA is a going to give our customers a choice that will be strong, more easily printable than ABS and has superior UV resistance. Lots of folks are making parts that require UV resistance and having this material option in our lineup is very important to us and to our customers"
Watch for information about ASA if this is a material you've been waiting for. Everyone at Coex 3D would appreciate hearing from you in regards to what colors and spool sizes you'll be looking for - you can always reach out with an email to email@example.com