Cooper Farms’ Entry into Additive Manufacturing

Cooper Farms has an 80-year old history that began with a turkey hatchery and has since expanded in and around Northwest Ohio. It is now a multi-location facility including a hatchery, processing plant, and manufacturing plant for deli turkey products. They have a plethora of customers from coast-to-coast that they manufacture private label products for at their facilities. Their team works with customers from the beginning to design and develop products as well as manufacture and package them. Recently, they ran into an issue where 20 years ago they had 30-35lb turkeys, and as such only had trays to fit that weight. Nowadays, with advanced breeding techniques and knowledge, turkeys are 45-50lbs. Cooper Farms needed to come up with a larger pan for holding the heavier turkey that could also be installed easily into their system. That is where JuggerBot 3D comes into their story.

JuggerBot 3D has a background as well as partnerships with companies that specialize in reverse engineering, design, and additive manufacturing. Cooper Farms wanted to be able to print the large turkey pans; the team at JB3D gave them the tooling solution, and now they are able to print that part several times without worry. For companies that do not have tooling or CAD data, it is difficult to innovate a product such as the larger pan and then seamlessly integrate it into their system without the help of 3D printing.

The team at JuggerBot 3D utilized Freshmade3D to scan and model the part as well as convert the part into a functional mold that could then be 3D printed.

Freshmade3D is a portfolio company at the Youngstown Business Incubator located in Youngstown, OH – the same building that JuggerBot 3D is located in. They specialize in digital manufacturing, which includes the production of engineered particulate composites using binder jetting, as well as providing engineering services such as 3D scanning/modeling and reverse engineering. Because of their extensive knowledge of reverse engineering, Juggerbot3D was able to leverage their capabilities to assist on the Cooper Farms project.

In order to 3D print an object, you have to have the digital model in place first. There are a number of ways to go about this – it can be a downloaded file from the internet, drawn yourself in CAD, 3D scanned from an existing part, or measured with traditional measurements and then transformed into a digital format in the computer using a CAD software. Freshmade3D uses a faro arm, industry-leading 3D laser scanner (measurements, reverse engineering, and other applications in the 3D printing industry. By utilizing these, they can take measurements from the faro and transform them into a digital model, which can then be 3D printed.

The initial product request came from the team at Coopers Farm to enlarge the turkey holding tray. JuggerBot 3D used their Tradesman Series™ F3-32 3D printer for the project because of its reliability in printing large parts. The part came in at about 15×16 inches, 6 inches tall, and made of 5lbs of material, which is a significant amount to process. The Tradesman Series™ F3-32 printer allows for larger spool materials, and is best used in medium to large scale printing. The team worked closely with Cooper Farms to come up with a more cost-effective solution by using a draft-quality print, as well as a larger bead width and layer height. 

“We didn’t realize we would have a use for 3D printing in turkey processing. It was very advantageous with speed and time and cost to get the part [3D printed]. We were able to get 25 pieces in hand quickly. I see an advantage of using 3D printing even for what we do in the food industry. It helps me as the product development guy potentially create new items because customers are always looking for the new thing to be done today,” — Dale Siebeneck, Director of Product Development and Regional Sales.

Juggerbot 3D’s Tricks of the Tradesman SeriesTricks of the Tradesman features the technologies and teams pushing the limits of 3D printing beyond the desktop and onto the factory floor. Join the team at JuggerBot 3D for this informative series on a transformative innovation and learn how you can be a part of the 3D printing evolution.

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