“The Right Connection,” is an apt tagline for Dixon Valve, given its positioning in the hose coupling industry. Dixon might not have guessed it would be equally on point in terms of the company’s use of 3D printing. A number of years ago, Dixon instituted an Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Department to address the workings of their automated and manufacturing equipment. “We saw an opportunity to improve our efficiency by using 3D printing to rapidly develop functional prototypes for our gantry systems,” said Rodney Everett, Jr., industrial engineer. The team recommended 3D printing and the rest as they say, is history. The additive process’s ability to print custom manufacturing aids critical to tooling has become an important part of the company’s production process and has left engineers at the century-old company embracing the future of manufacturing with 3D printing.
Dixon gaskets are inserted into these fittings using a SCARA robot and 3D printed grippers.
“There’s no end in sight to what we think 3D printing can do for us. We plan to incorporate it into our production facility as much as we can going forward. The balance of strength and surface finish is unique to Stratasys equipment and materials.”
Rodney Everett, Jr., Dixon Valve & Coupling Company