Manufacturing relies on tools to maintain consistent quality and ensure production efficiency. Traditional methods for the production of manufacturing tools can be expensive and time-consuming; this can limit the amount of tools on the floor, and slows down production when a tool is not functioning properly. When utilizing 3D printing tools in-house, it is easy to optimize designs and increase the number of tools on the production floor. Engineers can easily evaluate the performance of the tool and make quick, cost-efficient adjustments to the design as needed. Also, because 3D printing is the process of adding layers of plastic to a tool until is completed, you can exponentially expand the range of design options available compared to a traditional tooling process.
Labor and time involved in learning how to utilize a new technology is a major factor for implementation; fortunately, 3D printing is an easy to utilize technology. If you have your CAD geometry available for Jigs, fixtures, templates, or gauges, then it's as easy as making a few clicks and sending the part to print.
Users can print one or multiple tools at the same time. The printing process generally takes a few hours, and when complete, your workers have the most up-to-date, accurate tools available. Also an added benefit of the use of 3D printed tools is the reduction of worker fatigue. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Polyjet plastic materials have far less weight than traditional CNC tools.
There are a multitude of companies from automotive suppliers to medical device producers that are already seeing the benefits of using 3D printing.
For more on FDM 3D printing technologies for jigs and fixtures, click here to learn more about and register for our 3D Printing Jigs and Fixtures with FDM webcast.
For more on PolyJet 3D printing technologies for jigs and fixtures, click here to watch a video and download a whitepaper.