6B — September 26 - October 9, 2014 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


B uilding S ervices & S uppliers Window manufacturer and subsidiary use technology to great advantage Crystal Window & Door Systems expands 3-D printing use

F LUSHING, NY — For the past three years, award-winning national manufacturer Crystal Win- dow&Door Systems based in Queens,NY, hasverysuccessful- ly used 3-D printing technology in its product design and devel- opment efforts. The technology has proved so advantageous that the company is planning the acquisition of additional 3-D printing equipment and has ex- panded its use to its aluminum extrusion subsidiary, Crystal Extrusions, in Union, MO. “Over the past few years, Crystal has really embraced 3-D printing in our product de-

velopment efforts for its many advantages,” said Steve Chen , Crystal’s chief operating officer. “The technology significantly speeds the design process for our new window profiles, com- ponents and accessories, and allows us to get everything exactly right before purchasing expensive new tooling andmov- ing into mass production. “Recent press articles on 3-D printing often portray it as a novel new technology,” con- tinued Chen. “But while other window manufacturers and industries may just be discover- ing the benefits of 3-D printing, Crystal made the initial invest- ment three years ago and has been using it extensively since then to transform our engineer- ing and design processes. It’s been so successful in fact, I’ve expanded its use to ourMissouri aluminum extrusion subsidiary and we’re planning a next gen- eration printer for Crystal here in Queens.” Vincent Grieco , regional sales and technical manager for Crystal, knows the advantages it offersCrystal’s sales and busi- ness development efforts. “Our 3-D printing technology’s rapid prototyping gives us the capabil- ity to develop custom window frames, flanges, and installation accessory items suchas panning and mullions,” said Grieco. “It’s a wonderful way for architects and specifiers to visualize com- ponents before they finalize designs, and it allows us tomeet theneeds of building owners and contractors very quickly and cost-effectively.” Crystal’s current 3-D printer by Stratasys uses Fused De- position Modeling (FDM) for building the plastic three-di- mensionalmodels. Drivenby In- ventor 3-D Modeling Software, from the maker of AutoCAD (design drawing software which is widely used by architectural, constructionandmanufacturing industries), the printer oper- ates directly from electronic file design drawings developed in AutoCAD (or other similar soft- ware) to generate the window component 3-D models. The printer extrudesultra-thin0.005 mmmelted plastic threadmate- rial layer upon layer to build an object progressively. The maximumoverall size of amodel created with Crystal’s current printer is 8 inches x8 inches x12 inches, making it very useful for a wide range of window-related components such as frame and continued on page 8B

3-D printed plastic models

3-D Printer

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