Ben Weeks

YINI Placement Company
Chemring Countermeasures Ltd

Going on to study Engineering at the University of Exeter.

Design 3D Printed Plastic Funnels

The objective of Ben’s project was to improve safety at Chemring through removing the ignition risk of using metal funnels; he did so by redesigning, sourcing and supplying 3D printed press-fi lling funnels, made from electrostatic dissipative plastic, to replace the previous metal funnels. Ben’s new design also introduced an integrated barrel hinge, made possible by 3D printing, to replace the unreliable taped hinges previously used.

Ben began by identifying the best manufacturing process for non-metal funnels, researching various processes - notably 3D printing - to identify a material with the correct workability, physical and electrical properties.

Ben then constructed a 3D CAD model of his design, researched suppliers and obtained quotes before presenting a business case to colleagues. By using his initiative and undertaking thorough research involving material data sheets, along with practical demonstrations, Ben was able overcome the signifi cant challenge of convincing colleagues, particularly the safety department, that 3D printed funnels would be suitably robust.


Ben has achieved notable safety improvements at Chemring by removing the ignition risk previously associated with the metal funnels. The new design has also greatly reduced downtime, by approximately 200 hours per year, as the funnels’ hinges no longer need to be regularly repaired, resulting in a fi nancial benefi t of £135,000 per annum. 

“This project is a true refl ection of Ben’s own effort and initiative; he has delivered it in a thorough and diligent manner, taking the team with him every step of the way. CCM will benefi t from this project as it fi xes an “old chestnut” type problem whilst reducing the cost of process materials, reducing stock and reducing downtime, resulting in better productivity. Ben has pushed forward his approach and convinced us of its benefi ts – to the point where we have challenged him with its full implementation. Ben’s contribution has furthered CCM business objectives of improving safety and increasing operational effectiveness.”

Mick Robinson, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Chemring Countermeasures Ltd. 

Date published: 
September 25, 2014