3-D printing technologies replace processes

Posted on 04 Dec 2017 and read 545 times
3-D printing technologies replace processesStratasys has announced that its 3-D printing technologies are being used by GKN Driveline Florence (www.gkn.com) to replace several traditional production processes.

The latter has reported a reduction of almost 70% in lead times when 3-D printing customised assembly tools in place of traditional plastic and several low-loaded metal tools — eliminating down-time and ensuring business continuity.

The team is also 3-D printing replacement parts for manufacturing equipment, reducing its dependence on suppliers and ‘accelerating’ component delivery to customers.

According to Carlo Cavallini (lead process engineer and team leader at the Florence plant), using a Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3-D printer allows his team to make complex assembly tools for the production line in a fraction of the time required by traditional methods.

This allows the plant to quickly undertake feasibility analysis of the tools and deploy them on the factory
floor much sooner.

Mr Cavallini says a recent project saw the team re-design a greasing-nozzle tool to eradicate oil spillages. “Using our 3-D printer, we developed a tool that dramatically improves grease distribution and eradicates the need to clean up spillages — a time-consuming task.

"This has been crucial to streamlining the production of half-shafts and ensuring that we provide premium-quality final parts.”

To further improve efficiencies on the shopfloor, the company is using 3-D printing to produce customised replacement parts ‘on demand’.

For instance, the Florence plant recently 3-D printed a missing cable bracket for a robot, saving at least a week against the time it would have taken to receive the component from the supplier.

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