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Case Study: How Xometry Streamlined Operations for Extrusion Manufacturer Battenfeld-Cincinnati

Learn how Xometry provided this extrusion manufacturer with the parts it needed to keep production running smoothly and simplified their internal communications along the way.

Tricia Contreras - Xometry Contributor
By Tricia Contreras
May 29, 2024
 5 min read
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IndustriesManufacturing Services UtilizedProject BriefSolution
Industries

Extrusion manufacturing

Manufacturing Services Utilized

CNC Machining

Project Brief

After overhauling its in-house CNC machining shop, Battenfeld-Cincinnati needed a more efficient way to manufacture sizing tubes for making PVC and polyethylene pipes.

Solution

Battenfeld-Cincinnati worked with Xometry to create the parts it needed, saving time and money compared to the old process. The company took advantage of Xometry’s Teamspace tool to make internal communication easier and streamline internal workflows.

For many busy manufacturing companies, there often isn’t time to pause and consider how a process might be done differently since any downtime could slow down output. For Battenfeld-Cincinnati, which manufactures extrusion lines for companies across various industries – from automotive to water management – this was the case with the sizing tubes it uses to make PVC and polyethylene pipes. 

The tubes “used to be made manually with our manual machines. And we just recently bought all new CNC machines for the back shop and have completely redone that area. And in doing that, we got rid of the machine that we made these parts on,” said Tucker Lahn, a CNC programmer at Battenfeld-Cincinnati.

Getting rid of that old machine meant the company had to find a new way of making the tubes so it could keep fulfilling orders. At first, it tried using other machines to make the tubes in-house, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t a sustainable solution.

“The tooling and the costs associated with it – especially time – it just became very inefficient to do them in-house. And we couldn't find any other vendors at all that wanted to do them locally, or even nationally,” Lahn said. “So one day after watching an ad on YouTube for Xometry, I said, ‘why don't we give them a try?’”

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From In-House to Outsourced

Before teaming up with Xometry to manufacture the sizing tubes, Lahn said the intricate parts were a real thorn in his side.

“These parts have absolutely razor-thin margins and had been something that we historically lose money on [due to] the high cost of tooling and the amount of time that they take on our machine. With Xometry, we've actually been able to turn around and make a profit on them, which has been huge for us,” he said. “The time that we gained back from not having them holding up our machines has been a giant step forward and so helpful for us.”

The sizing tubes Battenfeld-Cincinnati uses are a tall order to manufacture because they have one-millimeter and two-millimeter slots cut around the outside diameter of the part, which need to be exact. They continuously come into contact with water and molten plastic, “so they need to be very tough and heat resistant, and they can't rust,” Lahn said.

“These parts have absolutely razor-thin margins and had been something that we historically lose money on [due to] the high cost of tooling and the amount of time that they take on our machine. With Xometry, we've actually been able to turn around and make a profit on them, which has been huge for us. The time that we gained back from not having them holding up our machines has been a giant step forward and so helpful for us.”
Tucker Lahn,
CNC Programmer, Battenfeld-Cincinnati.
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One of the extruders used for pipe extrusion (Credit: Battenfeld-Cincinnati)

The parts are made from 316 stainless steel with a chrome coating, which was added by another vendor, although Lahn said the company may have Xometry add the coating for future parts. “We were kind of in a pinch when we first sent the parts into [Xometry], so we didn't even really think about all the post-processing things that Xometry can do for us,” he said.

While the sizing tubes currently are the only parts outsourced to Xometry, Lahn said Battenfeld-Cincinnati may turn to Xometry to manufacture other types of parts. “It's been a huge success using [Xometry] for these parts. And it might, in the future, open us up to outsourcing other types of parts besides just this family of parts…It's done so well.”

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A high-speed extruder (Credit: Battenfeld-Cincinnati)

Xometry Makes it Easy for Teams to Work Together

Teamspace is a workspace within your Xometry account that enables you to easily collaborate with other users on projects and custom part orders. It is your key to a unified Xometry experience, giving members of your team quick and easy access to quotes, order placement, part statuses, tracking information, and more.


Streamlining Communications with Teamspace

In addition to delivering the sizing tubes that Battenfeld-Cincinnati couldn’t manufacture in-house, Xometry also helped streamline the company’s communications. Using Xometry’s Teamspace platform has enabled the Battenfeld-Cincinnati team to better keep track of steps in the manufacturing process and maximize the efficiency of communication between departments. 

“Instead of having to track each other down to look at job statuses and things, now we can just do it from our own computers,” said Lahn, who uses Teamspace along with four of his colleagues. While the Battenfeld-Cincinnati team is relatively small, he said he can imagine that Teamspace would have even greater benefit to larger teams with 20 or 30 people working in the program.

“It's really created a team within the company. Before, the lines of communication weren't necessarily as open as they should have been. And just being able to track statuses and give shipping updates to people without actually having to [talk] to people has been super beneficial,” he said.

Battenfeld-Cincinnati’s buyer, who is responsible for purchasing, agreed. “Teamspace and the platform itself are very easy to use and help keep the lines of communication open to all channels involved,” he said. “I also like the fact that our account manager was able to walk us through the functionality of the platforms.”

“I think the customer service side of things would be the number one reason why we continue to use Xometry."
Tucker Lahn,
CNC Programmer, Battenfeld-Cincinnati

Hands-on Help Where it’s Needed

Lahn and the buyer on his team both called out Battenfeld-Cincinnati’s Xometry account manager, who Lahn said “was and has always been incredibly helpful.” He helped the team secure quotes for their parts using Xometry’s “name your price” option and trained them on how to use Teamspace after setting up their account. This type of hands-on involvement and attention to detail made a lasting impression.

“I think the customer service side of things would be the number one reason why we continue to use Xometry,” Lahn said.


Tricia Contreras - Xometry Contributor
Tricia Contreras
Tricia is the Executive Editor at Thomas and Xometry.

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