Jigs used to assemble automotive parts traditionally share two downsides: They can be difficult to maintain, and because they’re made of metal, they’re heavy — up to 150 pounds — too heavy for a single worker to move easily amid a bustling factory floor.
But as the engineers at Solaxis Ingenious Manufacturing in Bromont, Canada, have demonstrated, jigs don’t need to possess any of those negatives. With the help of Fortus 3D Printers from Stratasys, the company designed and manufactured a jig for an automotive supplier, which uses it to assemble high-volume plastic door seals. After developing several iterations of the jig, Solaxis was not only able to produce a 3D printed jig that is over 100 pounds lighter than a typical jig for this application, but it also slashed the design and manufacturing time by at least two thirds compared with traditional methods.
“We shrank the overall design and manufacturing cycle time from 16 to 20 weeks with traditional manufacturing, to three to five weeks with Stratasys 3D printing.”
Francois Guilbault, Solaxis