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3D printing benefits many businesses in varying industries and sectors. The technology – also known as additive manufacturing – is a fast, easy way to create prototypes in-house, and to manufacture tools and end-use products.
One of the best aspects of 3D printing is its versatility. Businesses can achieve a range of different results, depending on the material and type of printer used.
For example, an engineer may want to create a specific tool for his or her machine. By selecting a material that’s durable and heat-resistant, with a high tensile strength, the engineer can print a finished product that perfectly matches his or her needs perfectly.
Additive manufacturing enables companies to create 3D printed tools, jigs, and fixtures in rapid succession. This means machinery can be set up more quickly, variation is reduced during fitting and assembly, and production processes are more streamlined. By using tough, impact-resistant materials such as ABS or CPE, businesses like Ford can print tools fit for a busy production line, whenever they’re required.
The engineers working in Cologne at Ford’s pilot plant developed a tool which they can hook on the rear of the car. This jig enables them to quickly position badges and emblems of the car on the rear, resulting in fewer deviations. The tool was printed with Tough PLA –a material as strong as ABS, but soft enough to prevent bodywork scratches. The added holes on the tool contain magnets to keep it in position. It was printed in two parts on the Ultimaker S5, and glued together in the middle during post-processing.
Additive manufacturing is revolutionizing production processes. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing in particular has been adopted by diverse industries around the world, from automotive engineering to the health and beauty industry. These global brands use 3D printing to shrink production costs, accelerate time to market, and outpace their competitors. Want to learn more on ways to stop wasting money on your production processes? Download the white paper here.