6.3.6 Rapid prototyping case study

Preston-based Baxi is the UK market leader in gas fired domestic heating systems; designing, manufacturing and supplying a range of high quality, electronically con-trolled central heating boilers, fires and wall mounted heaters.1

Rapid prototyping has delivered time and cost saving benefits for Baxi as it geared it-self up for the launch earlier this year of its first home-grown combination boiler aimed at capturing a share of the lucrative home heating market.
The introduction of rapid prototyping at the firm has had a significant impact on the company's design strategy and the way it expects to tackle future new product devel-opment.

Back in early 1997, the company took a strategic decision to launch a completely new combination boiler, called the Bahama 100, designed and manufactured entirely in the UK at its Bamber Bridge facility. Moreover, Baxi had set itself a demanding 10 month timescale in which to design and develop a pre-production functional prototype of the boiler ahead of a full scale market launch in March 1998.
This was the fastest ever design-to-market time the company had set itself for a new product and to help ensure tight deadlines were achieved, Baxi's senior prototype en-gineer, Jim Astin-Kilgallon, turned to AMSYS, Europe's leading Selective Laser Sinter-ing (SLS) rapid prototyping bureau.2


1 www.gas-spares.co.uk/baxi.htm
2 www.amsys.co.uk