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Case Study

East West Industries: 3D Printing Metal Forming Dies

March 15, 2023

Customer FDM Use Case: East/ West Industries


East/ West Industries, a supplier of aerospace parts, has a reputation founded on quality and timeliness. Its traditional process of producing metal-forming dies was an integral, but slow process to the company's success.

However, a potentially devastating issue yielded a new, refined process of creating metal-forming dies with Stratasys FDM technology. East/ West is now producing its metal-forming dies and tools with its Stratasys 450mc 3D printer and Nylon 12CF, a composite polymer material.

3D printed metal forming dies allowed East/ West significantly drive down the cost of making metal forming dies.

Continue reading this case study to find out how East/ West achieved 80% cost reduction and 87% time savings with Stratasys solutions vs traditional metal forming.

You may also download the PDF by clicking below. 

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East/West Case Study - Metal Forming.

Customer Profile

East/West Industries, Inc. is an aerospace designer and manufacturer focused on producing aircraft seats and products that save aircrew lives. Founded in 1968, this woman-owned business serves major aircraft OEMs such as Boeing, Lockheed, and Sikorsky and is the recipient of multiple quality and supplier awards.

A Damaged Metal-Forming Die

Part of East/West’s production involves fabricating sheet metal components. One particular customer job required the use of a machined forming die. However, the die was found damaged just before the job was started. Because East/West’s machine shop was already committed to production parts, a new tool would require outsourcing, jeopardizing East/West’s ability to meet the customer’s delivery timeline. Even if the machine shop had capacity, a newly manufactured die would require the purchase of tool steel and time to machine the die’s complex shape, also putting the delivery schedule at risk.


Crisis Averted:

Fortus 450mc & FDM Nylon 12CF

East/West owns a Fortus 450mc™ 3D printer and uses it to make concept models, workholding tools, and assembly fixtures. It can print with FDM® Nylon 12CF carbon fiber material, a composite polymer with sufficient strength and rigidity to use in place of metal for specific applications. Instead of machining a replacement die that risked extending the production schedule, East/West engineers decided to print the full-size forming die with the Fortus 450mc using FDM Nylon 12CF material.


Impact of Partnering with Stratasys 3D Printing Solutions

The 3D printed die worked flawlessly, providing the rigidity and toughness needed to complete the job. The die’s complex shape was also not a factor because 3D printing is free from the typical manufacturability constraints of machining. Outsourcing a new die would have taken about eight weeks, but East/West printed and deployed the die in less than a week, an 87% lead time reduction. In addition, cost savings amounted to $4000, an 80% decrease over the cost of an outsourced tool.

Discover the possibilities of additive manufacturing technologies for industry 4.0 objectives.

The factory floor visualizer

If you want to learn more about the variety of applications you can address with a Stratasys 3D Printer, check out our virtual factory floor for an interactive look into the world of 3D printing for manufacturing.