Highly customized jigs, tools and fixtures, which are used to make manufacturing more efficient, reliable and optimized for end-use, add significant cost and time to the manufacturing process.
Additive manufacturing offers an ideal alternative to traditional production methods, due to its ability to radically reduce lead-time, broaden customization opportunities and significantly reduce cost. This gives the ability to innovate in product development, resulting in faster product production cycles and higher cost efficiencies.
High levels of customization and precision are key to the production of jigs, tools, and fixtures. It is an expensive, time-consuming, and challenging process that results in long design and product cycles. The low cost and flexible nature of additive manufacturing and the speed advantages it offers can help manufacturers produce tooling and machining equipment far more efficiently.
Jigs, Tools & Fixtures
The reduction of material waste is an often overlooked benefit of additive manufacturing. Unlike traditional manufacturing, which uses subtractive processes (such as CNC machining), additive manufacturing only uses as much material as the part requires. This reduces the material scrap rate, allowing manufacturers to save costs on the material. Additionally, the automated process improves product yield, eliminates human error throughout the assembly, and reduces labor inputs compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
More complex designs, which are highly difficult or impossible to achieve using traditional methods, are possible using additive manufacturing powered by CASTOR. Higher complexity can result in better performance resulting in tools with higher performance levels, increased overall quality, and longer lifespans. Higher quality parts also reduce rejection rate and unit costs, while parts consolidation can eliminate the need for assembly while optimizing functionality.
The dramatic reduction in lead time also allows for major cost savings, especially at low production volumes. Reducing the associated costs enables manufacturers to modify and update their tooling more frequently, helping them meet the challenging demands of product design cycles.
The ability additive manufacturing offers to adjust design for optimal ergonomic requirements improves performance and aids safety. Lightweight tools can be fabricated for specific applications and even customized to specific users (which can be useful for medical devices).
Reduced Lead Time
Tooling production via traditional manufacturing is a time consuming process that involves many lengthy processing steps, which can sometimes take weeks. Additive Manufacturing involves far less machining steps and often eliminates the need for machining. The increase in productivity leads to dramatic reduction of production cycle times. This can foster innovation through the swift production of numerous iterations of design variations of the part.