Exalto may not look like a global brand, but appearances can be deceiving, and still waters run deep. In fact, Exalto products are quietly making their way to every corner of the world. The team in Hardinxveld-Giessendam is made up of level-headed, hard-working professionals. Not prone to big talk or silly antics, their feet are planted firmly on the ground. So this might not be the first place you would expect to find a 3D printer – or is it?
Exalto Wipers – one of three divisions, alongside Propulsion and Parts – is a household name in market sectors that require windshield wipers. Legions of ships and trains rely on Exalto windshield wipers. The secret to their success is the product quality and responsiveness to customer needs. Customer involvement in the project has really been crucial for this product. "A train with a broken wiper is not allowed to leave the station, and every part of a boat has to be made to withstand the harshest conditions." That is precisely why the engineering department plays such a central role at Exalto. In 2016, a Tractus3D T850 delta printer was brought in to reinforce the team.
"At a stroke, this has in many respects made our division quite independent. In the past, prototyping was always outsourced, but now we can do it ourselves." Senior Design Engineer John Minderhoud is visibly enthused about the delta printer. "The printer is on non-stop. We can try out any ideas that we come up with, with no obstacles or delays." In the old procedure, John needed eight other people (from buyers to external parties), two weeks of turnaround time and 24 euros per mock-up. "The biggest payoff is not the savings in external costs, material or anything like that, but the fact that we have cut out all the intermediate steps."
Exalto is proof positive of what can happen when in-house innovators are given a free hand. In no time, Exalto had recorded a world first . "We were working on the development of a rain sensor for train windows. In the first week that we had the printer, we were able to produce 12 prototypes of the key component for this innovation. Normally, that would take us more than half a year. This rain sensor for trains is the first in the world, and as we speak it's already being installed on new trains in Switzerland."
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