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Author: Jackie Cook

Sheffield 3D printers flying high after bird tracking project

The creator of the world’s smallest and lightest low power GPS tracking technology has commissioned a Sheffield-based 3D printing firm to produce the lightweight plastic housings required to protect its pioneering bird tracking devices from diving pressure and beak damage.

PathTrack, based in Otley, has partnered with Addition Design – a 3D printing company based at South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park – to produce housings for the company’s avian tracking GPS devices to sit in.

Made using a fully traceable industrial grade of nylon, each housing is designed chiefly to protect the GPS components from damage caused by the pressure of oceanic depths in some cases and potential damage from birds with strong beaks in others, enabling researchers to monitor and track a greater number of migrating species across the globe.

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design, said: “We’re really proud to be working with PathTrack – a fellow Yorkshire company doing some really groundbreaking, important work in the field of avian science.

“The brief was to create plastic housings for the GPS devices to sit in when they’re attached to birds, so we needed to produce something extremely lightweight, waterproof and very hard-wearing.

“The result has been fantastic and it’s wonderful to think our work is playing a part in helping researchers learn more about bird migration around the world.”

PathTrack is renowned for producing the world’s smallest GPS tracking technology, revolutionising avian tracking science by enabling a greater range of bird species to be monitored, thanks to its unique lightweight devices.

Al Matthews, production technician and 3D designer at PathTrack, said: “Partnering with Addition Design on the production of our GPS device housings has already resulted in further innovations and we are enthusiastic about working on many more projects together.

“We’re proud to provide researchers with the world’s smallest GPS tracking technology and we’ve made a real impact in the field of avian tracking science by producing technology that can be applied to a very diverse range of bird species, both on land and in water, from large raptors to penguins, as well as tiny swifts and swallows.

“Because of this, we tasked Addition Design with meeting our very specific range of requirements, both in terms of materials used and, importantly, the weight of the housing.

“We’ve been impressed with their flexibility, communication and, importantly, the product created, which will continue to assist us in helping researchers around the globe track migrating birds, capturing vital data and science for our planet.”

Addition Design offers innovative design solutions to solve complex engineering problems or to help develop customers’ concepts into a prototype and on to manufactured components, all supplied under an ISO9001 quality management system.

Picture: Copyright Richard Phillips, BAS, 2023.


Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs

Opinion piece published in the March 2023 edition of Process & Control Today magazine

In the post-pandemic world, where the shockwaves of Brexit continue to ripple through the supply chain, fast-paced innovation within the 3D printing sector is helping the UK’s pharmaceutical industry to keep moving, as Tom Fripp, director at Sheffield-based 3D printing firm – Addition Design, explains:

Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs 1

It’s no secret that supply chains around the globe are feeling the strain. Turbulent trading conditions caused by a whole host of unprecedented challenges facing society at present mean most industries are needing to adapt fast and seek out new ways to overcome the hurdles of doing business in today’s markets.

The UK’s pharmaceutical industry is no exception.

On the back of a perfect storm which saw both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, manufacturers within the sector are reporting lead times for format and change parts of up to 15 weeks, making production line downtime an incredibly expensive and often unaffordable occurrence.

However, innovation within the 3D printing sector is meaning that increasingly, machine lines don’t have to grind to a halt.

With the capability to design and reverse engineer like-for-like components here in the UK, using raw materials sourced from within the country, we’ve been able to cut machine line downtime from 15 weeks to just five to seven days in some cases.

It’s a huge impact, considering the cost of downtime in a high value sector such as pharmaceutical can be as much as £15,000 a day, and it makes the business case for industrial 3D printing a very promising one indeed.


Material gains

Advances in 3D print systems are opening up a whole world of opportunity and enabling companies such as ours to produce the often large and robust change and format parts required by pharma, as well as to utilise higher performing materials capable of replacing metal parts and the Polyoxymethylene (POM) typically used by OEMs.

Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs 2Nylon is very good at replacing POM-based components like for like, and we’ve just invested more than £100,000 in a new Stratasys F370®CR FDM® Composite Printer, which enables us to print carbon fibre reinforced components.

Both of these materials are much more lightweight than their more traditionally manufactured counterparts, meaning reduced machine wear and a longer lifespan for production equipment, saving maintenance and replacement costs in the future.

Utilising these materials also means organisation’s engineering teams can input into the design process. After all, the highly-skilled engineers who set up pharmaceutical production lines know their machines inside out and are often able to make design suggestions that not only replicate but further enhance the finished component, sometimes incorporating multiple functions in one.


Navigating regulation and IP

Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs 3Of course, when it comes to replicating parts and manufacturing components for existing equipment, questions are often asked around how 3D printing can comply with necessary pharmaceutical regulation and navigate the issue of intellectual property (IP).

On the latter, it is rarely an issue. This is because more often than not, companies are seeking replacement parts to fulfil functions that are not core to the OEM’s design and therefore exempt from IP ownership. For example, star wheels or guide parts.

Equally, the machine for which the replacement part is being made for is usually out of warranty, too, with 3D printing increasingly turned to as a way of extending the usability of older production line equipment.

With regards to regulatory requirements, we also find that compliance issues are few and far between as the accuracy of 3D printing means components are often like-for-like in their size and shape and all the materials we use have full traceability, thanks to our own quality management procedures.

However, whether it’s determining IP restrictions or ensuring compliance requirements are met, working closely with a clients’ quality management team remains a vital part of the industrial 3D printing process.

Any duplication project should start with a site visit and a data capture exercise to review the machine and the components that are needed before the CAD process to replicate them even begins. From this, certificates of conformity can be produced after production and quality assurance clarity and detail provided where necessary.


Future thinking

Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs 4While it’s been around for a while now industrial 3D printing is evolving fast and, on the back of the pandemic and Brexit, more and more industries are awakening to the commercial benefits it has to offer.

From the rapid turnaround time for replicating critical components, to the exciting advances being made in printing technology that mean materials such as carbon fibre can be used to produce high performance parts, 3D printing is truly asserting its place at the industrial engineering table.

And, for an industry as heavily regulated and as high-worth as the pharmaceutical sector, it’s proving to be a lifeline.

Machine downtime can cost pharma companies hundreds of thousands of pounds, thanks to ever increasing supply chain delays on the continent.

Reverse engineering using pioneering 3D printing techniques eliminates this, cutting lead times, improving lifespan and reducing costs.

And, at such a challenging time for industry, that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

You can view the online edition of Process & Control Today here 

Click on the image below to download the PDF of the article.

Why industrial 3D printing is the medicine the UK pharma industry needs 5

Addition Design’s Tom Fripp joins the 42 Under 42 Class of 2023

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design, has been named as part of the prestigious 42 Under 42 Class of 2023 – an exclusive shortlist of successful entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders.

The Yorkshire Business Insider 42 Under 42 programme has been running for more than 20 years and is renowned for unearthing young business talent.

Addition Design’s Tom Fripp joins the 42 Under 42 Class of 2023 6

Successful nominees are named a much-anticipated shortlist and invited to an exclusive event in Leeds to celebrate their achievements.

The programme was established by the well-respected publication, Yorkshire Business Insider Magazine, which states: “Why 42? You might remember that the average age of the Insider Power and Rich List is 52. This event is designed to look ahead and predict who will be the leading business figures in ten years’ time – a talent-scouting exercise if you will.”

Tom, who is 40-years-old, is an internationally recognised, award-winning design expert with more than 17 years of commercial design experience under his belt, having overseen the delivery of over 1,000 design projects.

He has a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Industrial Design and a Masters with distinction in design for 3D printing both from Sheffield Hallam University.

Tom has been named on seven granted patents including four novel 3D print processes, developed and patented 3D printed facial and ocular prosthetics in the early 2000s and developed and patented the world’s first silicone elastomer 3D printing technology.

He has delivered projects in multiple markets including medical, packaging, consumer, FMCG, promotional, health and safety equipment, industrial and pharma. Including delivering projects for the likes of G4S, Comic Relief, Boots, Smith & Nephew, Nestle, Galpharm, B&Q, Balfour Beatty and Sharp Lifesciences not to mention hundreds of SMEs and inventors.

Tom said: “It’s an honour to be named on this year’s 42 Under 42 shortlist. I’m very proud to have founded Addition Design and, from our home at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield, we’re seeing some fantastic gains, breaking new ground in what we do and providing fast turnaround, pioneering solutions to help industry keep moving.”

The 42 Under 42 Dinner is set to take place on Thursday 20 April 2023 at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

For further information, visit

Technological advances in 3d printing are helping people who need medicines

A Sheffield design and additive manufacturing business is using its innovative system to help the pharmaceutical industry to save valuable time in its production process.

Addition Design, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Sheffield, has made significant inroads in the pharmaceutical industry working with companies with a global reach.

The equipment that Addition Design supplies parts for is involved in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products which have the capability to improve people’s health. But when these complex machines fail or wear, it reduces the accessibility of these, in some cases, lifesaving drugs.

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design said: “Sadly, the pharmaceutical industry is well aware of the knock-on impact of having machines out of action for weeks on end as they wait for replacement parts.

“Like any high-volume product, the way to keep costs down is to automate production, and there are vast numbers of machines which have high throughput of medicine at various points in their packing – be it bottles, blisters, foils, pouches, vials or syringes, primary or secondary packaging.  But when important parts like guides, wheels, star wheels and change parts break or wear it can mean very expensive downtime whilst parts are supplied from OEM’s or third part suppliers.

“One solution is to hold stock of critical parts, but they can be expensive and take up significant space. Our process utilises virtual stockholding – where we store all the virtual data needed to produce these critical parts on demand using the latest in additive manufacturing technology in like-for like materials. This reduces downtime from months to days, saving 10s of thousands of pounds, as well as allowing our customers to optimise physical storage space needed on-site and reduce cash tied up in physical inventory.

“Our in-house additive manufacturing systems deliver- world class components in durable engineering grade materials and our ISO 9001 quality management system ensures that our quality remains consistent, that all components are fully traceable for those who have demanding material requirements.

“Consumers who need vital medications simply cannot be kept waiting and using our cutting-edge digital design approach we are able to help companies to reduce machinery down time.”

By producing components to get these machines up and running again quickly, Addition Design is helping to reduce the costs and risk associated with producing low and high-volume pharmaceuticals and help keep them flowing to where they are needed in the most efficient way.

“When manufacturers realise the benefits that we can offer, they find that they can increase the flexibility of their offerings from standard pack formats to one off formats which push the boundaries of what is possible. This can open up the possibilities for packing and supply of pharmaceuticals to consumers leading to new ways of delivery and availability.

“We believe that there are huge benefits to be found in the digitisation of change parts and format parts. From the ability to build in improvements to their design based on the expertise found in the engineering team to making use of real time monitoring and self-ordering of on demand parts, when you put the speed and reliability of industrial 3D printing together with the need to minimise downtime on complex equipment there are almost endless possibilities,” added Tom.

Traditionally 3D printing has struggled to work in the pharmaceutical industry, Addition Design worked hard to understand why this was and how they could tackle the problems.

“I have been working with 3D printing for 20 years and have lost count of how many products, devices and components I have designed and supplied in that time as well as how many 3D print systems I have developed or modified. But the areas that always stick out for me are those where the beneficiaries of the technology are people.

“We’re proud to have established ourselves as a trusted, responsive, and sustainable supplier with a number of businesses in this sector and are looking forward to developing our work thanks to our recent investment in a new 3D composite printer that will further improve the quality of change parts and format parts that we are able to produce.

“3D printing is uniquely placed to produce products to support a market of anywhere between one and a million and that means that not only it is supremely flexible in what kind of problems it can solve, it can match the demands of a market looking to supply people with unique issues at the same time as common issues. Making specialist parts and common parts at the same time is something that both the pharmaceutical industry and 3D printing industry share, so once the traditional barriers associated with 3D print in pharmaceutical have been overcome, it’s a perfect match,” concluded Tom.

Addition Design offer innovative design solutions to solve complex engineering problems or help to develop customers concept into a prototype and on to manufactured components all supplied under an ISO9001 quality management system.


Sheffield 3D printing experts give steel firm a competitive advantage

A Sheffield design and additive manufacturing business has developed a bespoke device giving a local steel firm a competitive advantage.

Addition Design, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Sheffield, has successfully completed the project with Charles Day Steels, a specialist profile cutting service, using industrial 3D printing.

Charles Day Steels offer flame cutting as well as plasma, waterjet and laser cutting, investing in the latest cutting technology to provide customers with the best quality profile cut parts.

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design said: “We were pleased to be able to provide Charles Day Steels with a solution that allows them to standardise their profile labelling process and scale this to their range of machines.

“We drafted and delivered a bespoke design working from concept to prototype before setting up the final design for on-demand production using our in-house industrial 3D printing facilities.

“This included reverse engineering, 3D CAD, concept design and prototyping. The final product has resulted in significant time and cost savings for the company.”

Previously the system required extensive time and labour, creating downtime for the machines, and a bottleneck for the company’s workflow.

James Day, business operations director at Charles Day Steels, said: “Addition are masters in applying the benefits of industrial 3D printing and, together with their expertise in design, they were quick to develop a solution to our production problem. They developed and supplied a bespoke device which supports our business and will give us a competitive advantage through a professionally delivered design and development project.”

The resulting device can be integrated across Charles Day Steels’ facility to deliver significant time and cost savings.

Sheffield 3D printing experts give steel firm a competitive advantage 7

To read the case study on this project please click here

Sheffield firm invests in innovative industrial 3D carbon fibre printing technology

A Sheffield design and additive manufacturing business has invested £100,000 in new technology to keep it at the cutting edge of industrial 3D printing.

Addition Design, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Sheffield, has welcomed a new Stratasys F370®CR FDM® Composite Printer as part of its investment package.

Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design said: “This new innovative 3D printer is a welcome addition to our business. The investment will improve the quality of change parts and format parts that we are able to produce.

“It will open up new opportunities for us to be able to deliver higher performance parts with reduced lead times. Customers will also benefit from the unique combination of Addition Design’s additive design capabilities with very high performing materials.”

Addition Design is one of the first businesses in the country to invest in this new technology.

Tom added: “During 2022 we saw strong demand from pharmaceutical clients and subcontract packers for our fast turnaround change parts.

“The existing 3D print systems at Addition are very good for volume and precision work but the change parts and format parts tend to be large, robust components on low volume. The new printer is better suited to this application. However, it also takes things a step further by allowing us to print carbon fibre reinforced components, hugely increasing the performance of the parts that we can produce at Addition.

“It also extends our offering into new markets including forming tools and high performance automotive.

Sheffield firm invests in innovative industrial 3D carbon fibre printing technology 8

“Industrial 3D print technology is at the forefront of enabling businesses to minimise downtime and improve profitability, what’s not to love about that!”

The Stratasys F370®CR FDM® Composite Printers supplement traditional fabrication technologies, allowing industrial manufacturers to replace metal components with high-strength 3D printed composite parts. This accelerates throughput while avoiding the opportunity cost of using production resources or the lead time of outsourcing.

This product was launched to market in 2022 to make work-holding fixtures, soft jaws, and component parts with composite 3D printing in a fraction of the time and cost it takes to machine a metal equivalent.

“We are really excited to be taking this step up in industrial 3D printing and branching out into printing in Carbon Fibre. By using this robust technology, we will be able to overcome some of the challenges in the industry at the moment by meeting the demand for fast turnaround change parts, reducing costly downtime for organisations.

Sheffield firm invests in innovative industrial 3D carbon fibre printing technology 9

“Our business is focused on design and manufacture solutions that unlock the power of industrial 3D printing for medical, industrial, food, pharmaceutical, sports and consumer goods markets, this investment will help us to achieve even more in 2023 and the years ahead,” added Tom.

Chris Andrews, Regional AM specialist, SYS Systems, said: “The last 18-24 months have put immense pressure on the manufacturing sector, and the F370 CR represents a fantastic mew addition to the Stratasys range to help alleviate some of these challenges.

“We see more and more companies everyday substituting machined metal for strong and rigid 3D printed carbon fibres, not only reducing weight and cost but freeing up your team with 24/7 reliable printing, thanks to being built on the existing and widely adopted F123 Series platform.

“Seeing Addition Design be one of the UK’s earliest adopters of this new technology emphasises the commitment to their customers. Giving them access to the brand-new FDM Nylon-CF10 for everything from bespoke jigs and fixtures, to end use production parts.”

Watch the video about the new Stratasys F370®CR FDM® Composite Printer and what benefits that can bring to you


Addition attending Make UK Northern Dinner and Conference

Addition will be attending the inaugural Make UK Northern Dinner and Conference on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th November 2022 at Hardwick Hall Hotel at Sedgefield in County Durham.

Director, Tom Fripp and Sales Manager, Terence Logan will be attending the event and showcasing some of the examples of the work they have carried out helping pharmaceutical, manufacturing, medical and other businesses design and manufacture smart, agile and durable change and wear parts ensuring optimal performance.

The conference themes are around:

  • Digitisation – Sponsored by Assured Cyber Protection
  • Net Zero – Sponsored by Inspired Energy
  • Skills & Innovation
  • Identifying New Trading Opportunities.

On the night before the conference, Make UK are offering the chance to unwind and network at the dinner, sponsored by Powerstar, where you will hear from industry experts and build new relationships with like-minded business leaders.

There will be a conference and exhibition, industry showcase and industry insight presentations.

For tickets and more details please visit

Addition launches new brand at PPMA show

Addition is exhibiting at the PPMA show at NEC in Birmingham from 27th to 29th September 2022 on stand A89 where they are launching their new brand to promote their end-to-end design and additive manufacturing services.

Addition, based in Sheffield, provides an end-to-end solution taking you from design to manufacture of a range of engineering components, format parts and change parts for automated production lines. Using the advantages of industrial 3D printing, components can be replaced if broken within a matter of days or pulled from a smart inventory as part of a customer’s preventative maintenance schedule. Their skilled engineers will reverse engineer, manufacture, and deliver new durable part within 7 working days.

As part of the exhibition’s seminar programme Director, Tom Fripp will be presenting on ‘Taking advantage of industrial 3D printing in processing and packing machinery’ at 10.40am on Thursday 29th September in Seminar Theatre 2 – C124. The presentation will discuss current industrial 3D print technology and how processing and packing machinery operators are taking advantage of it to improve their profitability and minimise downtime.

To book your free place to attend please visit the website below

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