3D Printing Offers Fast Cost-Saving Solutions In Design And Manufacturing
Leveraging Speed and Strength
The adoption of 3D printing allowed Solidify to provide solutions for low- volume production quickly. For example, Solidify was producing spare parts for a European automotive client whose car had gone out of production, but still required spare part supplies for a few more years. The client’s actual demand was 1,000 pieces, but the minimum order required by the original supplier was 20 times more. Instead, Solidify 3D printed the master part and added it to traditional manufacturing processes, including soft tooling, silicon rubber molding and plastic injection molding. After 3D printing the master part, silicon rubber molds were created for the first 200 pieces and the order was completed using injection molding.
This integrated approach cost four times less than that of the original supplier. Apart from providing solutions for automotive spare parts, Solidify leveraged 3D printing and their Fortus® system to great success by manufacturing chassis parts for up to 10 double-decker buses a week. The printed parts of the bus chassis were produced using FDM Nylon 12TM, a strong material especially suitable for the automotive industry as it offers one of the best Z-axis lamination and highest impact strength among any FDM thermoplastics. The printed parts can withstand vigorous functional tests and will not break when they are assembled into the real chassis. “The Fortus system offers a larger build tray for us, which helps us minimize assembly, and the associated error and cost, thus improving production efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction,” said Khoo.