Cooper Standard is a leading global supplier of fluid transfer hoses, fuel and brake lines, rubber and plastic sealing and anti-vibration systems for the automotive industry. The company’s plant in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky produces thousands of different coolant hoses in high volumes for many make and model vehicles. The hose is initially produced in long lengths in a highly automated process then must be trimmed to size, fitted with a clamp and printed with identifying information. These last three and other secondary processes can be far more efficiently performed with the aid of many hundreds of jigs and fixtures that are designed specifically for each of the company’s many different hoses.
Cooper Standard switched from machining to 3D printing to make these jigs and fixtures, reducing their cost by an average of 30-40%, their lead time by 66% and their weight by 90%. Fisher Unitech printed Cooper Standards fixtures in its own facility for six months to prove a Stratasys 3D printer would do the job, then provided training to help ensure Cooper Standard’s success in printing jigs and fixtures in-house.