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Vinyl Disk Cartridge as a sample use case for AMable

This use case of DTI and ORTOFON shows how AMable services can support stakeholders in the uptake of additive manufacturing (AM). Printing of vinyl disk catriges is an innovative idea that brings individualisation and performance to a new level. Have a closer look at it!

Enhanced Cartrige

Vinyl record players provide high fidelity audio signals for music lovers all over the world. The phono cartridge still challenges engineers because of its key role in transferring the structure of the vinyl disc into electrical signals, which then are amplified to acoustic waves. The housing is one of the many important parts in a phono cartridge. In order to achieve best possible sound, the housing must be very stiff and at the same time damped to reduce unwanted vibrations.

To enhance these properties for the housing, DTI and Ortofon A/S defined the following challenges:

  • Reduction of production time from 4-6 months to a few weeks
  • Increase in freedom of design choices
  • Achieve knowledge of the AM manufacturing process to take full advantage of design choices
  • Establish a quality evaluation chain to ensure well recognised Ortofon quality levels

DTI and Ortofon took these challenges to create a production ready cartridge which to this day is one of most advanced cartridges in the market. To ensure a high quality audio transmission of the cartridge, the design was optimised and simulated in repetitive manner. AM was able to speed up this iterative process creating a more efficent and faster development flow. The team implemented the following:

  • The design of the cartridge was highly optimized to achieve an build-in vibration dampening effect, which is not producable by traditional manufacturing technologies
  • CT scanning was applied to optimize the AM process parameters in the pilot production phase
  • Coordinate Measurements was applied during the production phase to assess geometrical conformance
  • The AM production chain was designed to meet a final production time of a few weeks

By optimising this part towards a production by AM technologies, DTI and Ortofon A/S have been able to produce a first high quality phone cartridge with a new level of audio performance. During this project, different solutions have been created and implemented to obtain a high level of quality across the complete production process. Following this initial experiment, six new cartridges (MC A90, SPU A90th, Xpression, MC Anna, MC A95 and SPU A95) have been developed, leading to rich portfolio of high quality products. We are launching the 100 years anniversary this year as well as two new pick-upper (MC Century and SPU Century)

Overall, the benefit of running through design, optimsation, print and post-process relied on services like visualisation, simulation, topology optimisation and quality assurance - services that AMable will offer to companies that have similar innovative ideas.