Additive manufacturing started as a prototyping method in aerospace industry, and today more and more industries are following their lead. More industries are seeing the benefits of AM and embracing it to aid the design and review process. According to Trend Forecast by Stratasys, the current changing trends in adoption of additive manufacturing in various industries is set to grow by 18% in manufacturing of tools, 35% in tooling pattern, and 41% in trial and bridge production by the year 2018.
Such a swing in industry is seen in various segments, due to the incredible experiences by many major manufacturing names involved in the practice. One thing common to all of them is the lessons applied by, in transition from traditional manufacturing methods to 3D printing world. As it goes for jigs and fixtures manufacturers, additive manufacturing is a natural fit, especially because they have a repetitive usage.
For Jigs and Fixtures
As John Good, to the VP of Sales and Marketing for 3D Platform, uses the words “Parts that make parts” for jigs and fixtures and other machine tools, these are incredibly expensive and large costs are incurred when a manufacturer lose resources over them. Lead times resulting from them are also soaring pretty high. As an alternative to this, AM offers cost benefits and gains in resultant efficiency.
The benefit of Additive manufacturing is it allows the designer to not invest time in creating drawings. It develops CAD models based on tool design with standard and sustainable forms following 5S tools for drawings, checks and validates the geometrical as well as physical attributes. AM when combined with CNC machining; delivers robust, accurate and consistent designs and delivers a final product in the form of durable jigs and fixtures. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is usually used as a means to deliver jigs and fixtures around cleaner circuit board.
By adopting the AM approach, manufacturers are essentially allowing their designers to keep the design scope wider, enabling them to identify the design issues earlier and give a sufficient timeframe for feedback loops and ultimately cut down time and costs effectively. While prototypes do the same, it takes longer product development cycle and incorporating design changes will hold greater impacts.
Additive manufacturing industry has come to a new horizon, driven by new investments for quality and performance. Such emerging technology has eradicated the concept of working with prototypes and iterative design tests. The rate at which it is running changes for the industry is mesmerizing for designers in terms of delivering significant results.