AdvancedTek Part of the Week – 5/2/16
No ears, guns or cars – just real parts and real applications.
Today’s part of the week is a part of a set of “Manufacturing Support Tools” from collaboration with a local MN manufacturer. Manufacturing Support Tooling refers to a part that is used to support a manufacturing process, and is one of the fastest growth applications for additive manufacturing. In simple terms, this part is a nesting fixture for a robot to “pick and place” a product for assembly. 3D Printing/Additive manufacturing offers a very easy method of capturing specific geometry of a part for automation and assembly.
For this part, the customer selected ASA material, one of Stratasys’ “Standard Bundle” materials on the Fortus 450mc. ASA offered good strength and value combination for this particular application. The customer specifically selected yellow ASA in order to indicate safety and we were able to include our logo on the part for demonstration purposes. A pause was inserted into the build and a material change allowed for the logo to be produced in a different color of ASA to make it pop for a presentation.
Please note that our customer designed this part specifically for additive manufacturing as the production method. With traditional manufacturing, the part would have been designed with the least amount of material to be removed from a block of material and without overhangs or other geometry that would be restrictive for access of the cutting tool. With additive manufacturing in mind, the part was designed with the least amount of material required for the function of the part and more complexity was able to be designed in to hold the parts in place.
One of the most interesting benefits that Additive Technology offers is the ability to add in complexity to fixtures that help solve manufacturing issues or combine manufacturing processes. For example, some nesting fixtures can also serve as a check fixture or go/no go gauge. The ability to add radii and produce organic shapes easily allows for parts to locate off the geometry itself rather than relying on datum points on the part.
AdvancedTek has seen more and more of our customers beginning to use Additive Technology to produce Manufacturing Support Tooling such as automation fixtures like this example.
Please contact AdvancedTek if you’d like additional information about 3D printed Manufacturing Support Tooling or other applications. Please consider following AdvancedTek on LinkedIn for future samples and customer stories.
Posted by Matt Havekost, AdvancedTek Director of Sales – Additive Manufacturing