3D PRINTING IN MANUFACTURING Overcome Challenges

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Companies across aerospace, automotive, defense, consumer goods, medical, and more are adopting digital manufacturing tools to take steps towards the promise of Industry 4.0. 3D printing is a catalyst for efficiency, giving staff from production engineer to machinist the tools to tighten supply chains, improve production, and get to market faster—saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and weeks to months of time along the way.

Learn how companies like Tesla, General Electric, and Dyson are adding 3D printing to their toolset, and find opportunities for additive technology in your own production environments.

 

Value Across the Supply Chain

Advancements in 3D printing have unlocked a broad spectrum of production applications. Powerful desktop 3D printers and resilient materials open opportunities for producing high precision, functional 3D prints that can stand in for final parts, and stand up to the rigors of the factory floor.

Integrating 3D Printing Into Production

From accelerating prototyping to cutting the lead time and costs of outsourcing tooling, manufacturing processes are ripe with opportunities to benefit from 3D printing.

1. Pre-Production

3D print parts in-house to accelerate and reduce iteration costs, tighten feedback loops, and validate part design and manufacturability to get ahead of potential supply chain delays.

Aftermarket LED lightbar by Holley, printed in Grey Resin

2. Production Tools

Bring rapid, cost-effective production of jigs, fixtures, and tooling in-house to save days or weeks of lead time, improve operational agility, and dramatically reduce costs versus outsourcing parts to an external vendor to machine from solid billet of plastic or metal.

Locator jig printed in Tough Resin

Custom jig by Pankl Racing Systems, printed in Tough Resin

Jigs and Fixtures

Reduce costs and increase agility by bringing jig and fixture production in-house with no minimum order quantities, no toolpath programming, wide material selection, and low capital equipment costs. Continuously improve products and respond quickly and effectively to issues on your manufacturing line with jigs and fixtures that improve assembly or QA processes.

 

USB injection mold, printed in High Temp Resin

Tooling

Build custom tooling that stands up to the rigors of the factory floor, and can help solve your toughest manufacturing challenges. Validate manufacturing processes, solve DFM issues, and increase flexibility by direct printing of tooling for applications ranging from injection molding to CNC tube bending.

White Paper: Injection Molding from 3D Printed Molds

By outsourcing to traditional machining service providers, we would have had to wait six more weeks before we could start production. With 3D printing, you can simply take the same design, send it to the printer, and then have the finished part ready by the next morning.

CHRISTIAN JOEBSTL
Process Engineer
Pankl Racing Systems

3. End-Use Parts

From a local foundry to a Fortune 500 company, 3D printed parts are reducing time- and resource-intensive steps in production processes and opening new business opportunities with the flexibility of cost-effective customization.

Pattern printed in Grey Resin (left) and a finished aluminum casting from an open-faced sand mold (right)

Metal Casting

High precision, polymer-based 3D prints are well-suited for casting workflows to produce metal parts at a lower cost, with greater design freedom, and in less time than traditional methods. Foundries around the world use 3D printing for directly investable printed patterns, molds for wax injection, and sand casting patterns.

 

Robotic finger final part (left), including overmolded cores printed in Black Resin produced with molds printed in Clear Resin, and finger prototype (right), printed in in Flexible Resin, by RightHand Robotics

Short Run Production

Short run production with 3D printing provides flexibility to change designs without sinking high costs into tooling, and a cost-effective manufacturing alternative for producing end-use parts in the tens and hundreds.

Razor thermoform mold, printed in High Temp Resin

Molding

Test mold designs prior to committing to expensive tooling. Print ready-to-use molds for thermoset and thermoplastic workflow with materials resilient enough for low-volume injection molding, overmolding, and casting components.

White Paper: Moldmaking With 3D Prints

Data-customized sprint spikes by New Balance

Mass Customization

Without the need to invest in costly tooling, use 3D printing to manufacture a variety of complex designs with no more time, energy, or material than producing simple parts. Automated 3D printing solutions can help to scale personalized products for mass market opportunities such as patient-specific models in healthcare to consumer products like dentures, shoes, and earbuds.

We have been a leader with 3D printing technology for many years, when we were the first to bring customized spike plates to our professional runners and have expanded into other sports since then. Now we look forward to taking this technology to consumers to further improve athlete performance.

 

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Manostaxx
Manostaxx – Industrial Management Consulting

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