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Revolutionizing How the DriveWorks Team Order Milk

A 3D-Print Solution

by Nathan, Applications Engineer at DriveWorks


At DriveWorks, innovation isn’t confined to just software solutions. Meet Nathan, our Applications Engineer who, armed with a background in design engineering and experience in additive manufacturing, recently undertook a project to address a unique challenge faced by our Operations Team.

Nathan, who joined our Technical Team in January 2022, brings knowledge from his studies in Design Engineering and a Master’s degree in Industrial Design/Industrial Digitalization. His expertise aligns perfectly with DriveWorks’ commitment to leveraging digital technology to transform manufacturing.

The Challenge

DriveWorks places a strong emphasis on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices and our commitment to reducing environmental impact means that our milk comes from a local milk supplier in recyclable bottles.

As the DriveWorks offices are a busy place, the amount of milk we need can change from day to day, so we need to tell our milk supplier how much milk we need for the following day.

We had initially been using some 3D-printed milk tags. But the DriveWorks team has grown and the number of bottles we need each day has increased.

The old milk tags only had one number on them. And, when we left multiple tags out the milk supplier would sometimes miss one of the tags and we didnt get enough milk for the day.

Old milk tags

The Operations Team asked Nathan to design and create new 3D-printed milk tags with interchangeable numbers to enable them to order large and small quantities on the same tag.

Milk tag design

Design Process & Technical Challenges

Nathan undertook a meticulous design process, considering factors such as usability, size, and durability in the UK weather. He sketched initial design ideas, leading to a prototype phase. Despite encountering technical challenges inherent in 3D printing, Nathan’s pushed on with the design process and a continuous improvement mindset.

Nathan faced a number of challenges during the prototype phase, including issues with print heads, pauses mid-print, and adhesion breakdown between polymers. Emphasizing the importance of learning from each setback, he worked through these challenges to refine his design.

Final Design

Drawing from his learnings, Nathan arrived at a sleek, compact final design. It featured an internal compartment for interchangeable number cards, ensuring ease of use and resilience against adverse weather conditions (very useful with the UK weather!).

He printed the design using our Ultimaker S3 3D Printer and with the final design ready for use, Nathan handed it over to our Operations Team.

Untitled design (1)

What next?

This innovative solution not only solved the immediate problem but also showcased Nathan’s design expertise and 3D printing skills. Looking ahead, Nathan is keen to tackle more projects that build upon his background in additive manufacturing and flex his design skills.

Nathan’s journey from challenge through to solution and successful implementation highlights DriveWorks’ commitment to promoting innovation across all areas of life at DriveWorks. This inventive approach, together with our focus on sustainability and local partnerships, aptly showcases DriveWorks’ innovative culture and approach to problem-solving.

Thank you Nathan!