How 3D Printing Change The Industrial Mode
Jig and Fixture are tools used in machine manufacturing. It is normally used to secure and position a work piece in places and guide the cutting tools. This is to allow the operator to minimize their mistake in cutting and to reduce injuries. One of the main advantage of jig and fixture is that it can assist the worker to install or assemble parts easily with the guide of fixtures. It will greatly reduces the time and mistake made. Commonly, the material used to make a jigs and fixture are either steel or aluminum.
With the used of 3D printing, the cost spent on making these tools are significantly reduced. The designers are also able to open their mind in designing more complex design and freed from the limitation of injection molding. Complex shape such as contour, irregular model is no longer limited by traditional method.
Many manufacturing companies have been committed to improve productivity and reducing costs, lean production technology and the implementation of inspection tools, jigs and fixtures in the production line help achieve these goals.
3D printing technology allows for a high degree of customization by incorporating complex parts in the design. Its excellent speed and accuracy become an ideal solution for the production of inspection tools, fixtures, and jigs. Another advantages for 3D printing is the weight reduction, tools with lighter weight increase productivity and improve safety.
Apart from all those advantages, 3D printing jigs and fixture are suitable for company in lower quantities runs. With simple click on the slicer software, within few hours time you will obtain a jig/ fixture on the spot without any other machining needs. This digital database do also allow designer to update and redesign the tools effortlessly.
Using 3D printing, the precision of the printed tools up to thousandths of an inch. This makes it great for producing quality control, testing and inspection fixtures. The material used to print the tools are diversity, it can be PEEK , PPSU or other engineering plastic, and these polymers exceeds in terms of chemical resistance, thermal resistance, shock resistance and etcetra. These polymer are also soft compare to metals, which will not damage the surface of those sensitive products. And with the aid of 3D printing, the fixture can be more ergonomic compare to the old ones. This means that the factory will be a safer environment for the workers and will improve the production rate.
Overall, many manufacturing companies had slowly started to transform to a 3D printing industries, by replacing all those traditional metal production line to the engineering plastics.