Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies Provides Technical Assistance
ROCKLIN — Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) provides technical expertise and rapid prototyping services to Northern California Manufacturers reducing the cost and time it takes to develop new products and get them to market. The goal is to give California businesses a competitive advantage explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director of the Sierra College CACT (sierracollegetraining.com).
“Rapid Prototyping is a quick and relatively inexpensive way for designers and manufacturers to see and feel an accurate model of a part or product before approving it for production,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Using a 3D computer design file, the rapid prototype equipment ‘prints’ out a product by following computer code to place layer after layer of durable acrylnitrile butadene styrene (ABS) plastic until the desire shape is achieved.”
Poolmaster (poolmaster.com) of Sacramento has used the CACT’s rapid prototyping services to design new handles for pool brushes and skimmers, a cover for a pool vacuum and a cartridge core for a filter. For more than 43 years, Poolmaster has developed original swimming pool products including maintenance equipment, inflatables, pool games and lounges. Michael Bell, product engineer for Poolmaster explained that Sierra College’s Rapid Prototyping services speed production. “Using rapid prototyping has cut production processing time by a factor of 10,” said Bell. “We can change the design and make a prototype to see how it works before finalizing the design. Because we can hold the product in our hands and test it we are 100% comfortable with the design before sending it to the factory.”
The rapid prototype can also help with market research. “We produced a handle for the skimmer pole and were able to fit it right on the pole because the prototype has the exact tolerances of the finished part,” said Bell. “If there were any problems with dimensions, we’d be able to see it immediately. We also asked customers to try the handle and give us feedback so we could refine the design.”
The Sierra College CACT provides technical advice to clients and Bell said that this helped Poolmaster resolve some design issues. “We appreciated being able to send a scaled version of a part that was too big for the rapid prototype equipment so we could still inspect it in a reduced size,” said Bell. “Poolmaster benefits from the convenience of working with a local supplier and Sierra College CACT has been very responsive. In addition, multiple small parts can often fit on the same build plate saving the cost of additional set ups.”
Sierra College CACT and Training & Development also offer on-site customized employee training in process improvement, lean manufacturing, high-tech soldering, supervision, communication and other business topics. Since 1992, Sierra College CACT has worked with businesses, manufacturers and technology companies in Northern California. For more information, go to www.sierracollegetraining.com or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at email@example.com or (916) 660-7801.