Business isn’t rocket science. It’s actually relatively easy – just do what works. Shell’s been in business since 1907. They’re one of the world’s most valuable companies. Their name speaks volumes. Why? Because they do what works. Here’s what’s been working lately:
Shell has built a GIANT disconnectable buoy made out of HUGE pieces of syntactic foam. The pieces fit together in a sequence—like a puzzle. Once the “puzzle” is complete, the buoy is formed and can be used offshore. It’s remarkable.
But, what’s even more remarkable is that the project—from start to finish—went flawlessly. Yes, flawlessly. By using 3D printing, Shell was able to create miniature buoys that served as models for the engineers, designers, and architects. Their approach was simple. It went as follows:
Visualization of the End Product
They came together as a team to discuss what they wanted the buoy to accomplish. They discussed the design, and features that needed to be had to help the buoy do its job. After they came to an agreement, they visualized the final product. They clearly defined everything about it. Before making it. They believed that doing everything they could early would be the key to safely and effectively building the buoy.
Creation of a Model
3D printing technology was used to create a model. This model served as a miniature version of the final product. Everything was the same—only smaller.
Problem Solving and Manipulation of the Model
The first design wasn’t perfect. There were problems. Lots of them. Changes needed to be made.
The design team problem solved to come up with solutions. The model was manipulated to reflect those solutions. Eventually, a perfect prototype was completed. They had created something that worked.
Not something they thought would work. Not something that might work. Something that worked.
This is where 3D technology was invaluable in the creation of Shell’s buoy. It was the catalyst that enabled the flawless execution of the final product. By giving the design team the opportunity to rapidly design and engage models, 3D printing saved Shell time and money. Lots of money. In the future, they intend to use 3D printing to continue creating successful designs that lead to successful installations.
Anyone with design experience can follow the approach Shell took. They probably already do. But, they’re not doing it with 3D printing. Utilization of resources is where the business world separates the men from the boys. Shell—and every other billion-dollar company—uses any and every resource they can to help their company and customers. You should be doing the same. A 3D printer isn’t something only Shell can buy.