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Jul 18

RedDOT Solves Clients’ Design Problems with Onsite Functional Prototyping

RedDOT designs and builds mobile heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and components for on- and off-highway vehicles, including commercial trucks and vehicles used in construction, agriculture, military and other demanding applications. Typically, a custom design is created for each vehicle in which its HVAC systems are used, requiring RedDOT to utilize thorough prototyping for each project.

This FDM part allowed testing of 4 variations of a groove that mates with a rubber seal. The finished product (below) features three FDM parts.

These HVAC systems often include injection moldings, which are expensive to produce in low volumes, often running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per project. This makes it critical to get the design perfect before committing to tooling, meaning that prototyping methods are instrumental in both project success and customer satisfaction.

In the past, the company ordered stereolithography apparatus (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS) parts from an out-ofstate service - the long lead times slowed the product development process, and these prototypes were not rugged enough to use for physical testing. Whilst looking for another prototyping solution, it was suggested that a Fortus Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machine could solve both of these problems by providing the internal capability to build rapid prototypes with nearly the same properties as production parts. After receiving a benchmark part to evaluate the value of the technology, it was clear that FDM was the most ideal solution for RedDOT.
“The team at RedDOT was amazed that the part was robust enough for physical testing - they eventually purchased a Fortus 400mc 3D Production System because, in addition to the ability to produce prototypes capable of functional testing, its 14 inch by 16 inch envelope enables the company to make their largest parts in two pieces.”

To illustrate the advantages of FDM, Gary Hansen, vice president and chief technology officer for RedDOT, offers the example of a customer who provided the geometry of a housing with three components that needed to mate with a rubber bulb seal. RedDOT made a rapid prototype using the customer’s dimensions and it did not seal properly.



Lead Time

Withstanding Physical Testing



4 weeks




4 weeks


Cast Urethane


6 weeks




1 week



$940 (31%)

3 weeks (75%)

Building a single variation of all three components of the housing would have cost $3,000 from an SLS service bureau or taken 120 hours and $1,000 in material to produce with FDM - so the company made a much smaller prototype with four variations of depths and widths for the groove that controls the compression to mate with the seal. The FDM prototype of the four variations took only 2.5 hours and $10 of material. Furthermore, the Fortus system has reduced the cost of building the complete three-component housing by $2,000, and the lead time by 3 weeks, compared with using a service bureau. When asked about the benefits of Stratasys' FDM technology, Gary Hansen of RedDOT stated

“The Stratasys solution of being able to make production-grade components one-off enables us to deliver functional prototypes to customers at a much faster speed. FDM prototypes are more useful than the SLA and SLS prototypes because they can be used for physical testing, and even given to customers as components on evaluation units. This means that we are nearly certain to get the design right the first time so we can keep customers happy and start generating revenues sooner.”

- Stratasys Staff

For more on the advantages of bringing your prototyping in house, to request a benchmark, and additional content, visit us at www.cimetrixsolutions.com.