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Assembly Fixtures: Valuable Productivity & Quality Tools

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Jaclyn Schindler Adhoh January 08, 2024
January 08, 2024

The purpose of assembly fixtures is to support the assembly of components or products in the manufacturing industry. These tools and devices are designed to hold and position parts correctly during the assembly process. This ensures accurate alignment, fit, and functionality. The benefits of assembly fixtures are to improve the efficiency, quality, and consistency of assembly operations.

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Types of Assembly Fixtures

Assembly fixture types and uses vary between jig fixtures, welding fixtures, assembly fixture clamps, soldering fixtures, press-fit fixtures, pallet fixtures, and indexing fixtures, to name a few. Jig fixtures are commonly used and designed to support components during assembly. Jigs ensure correct alignment and positioning by utilizing locators, clamps, or guides. 

As the name suggests, welding fixtures hold and position components to be welded. This guarantees proper alignment and joint configuration. Clamping fixtures securely hold components during assembly operations which require a stable workpiece. Soldering fixtures are implemented in the electronic assembly process where soldering occurs. Press-fit fixtures are utilized in assembly processes where components are press-fit into mating parts. 

Commonly used in assembly lines, pallet fixtures hold many components in a predetermined arrangement. In terms of Oreck Manufacturing, each series of vacuum created is associated with 40-50 identical assembly pallets. Additionally, each assembly fixture consists of four plastic posts that attach to a standard Bosch assembly pallet. To produce the fixtures, Oreck implemented two large Fortus 3D Production Systems utilizing FDM Technology. By using additive manufacturing and printing in-house, fixture production costs were reduced by 65%, as compared to traditional methods. This results in substantial savings as most traditional assembly fixture construction can cost over $100,000.

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Benefits of 3D Printing Assembly Fixtures

When it comes to producing assembly fixtures, consider utilizing additive manufacturing. 3D printing is overall a cheaper option since it removes the need for expensive tooling and machining processes as required in traditional fixture manufacturing. With 3D printing, you can easily customize assembly fixture design and produce assembly fixtures specific to product requirements. 

Additive manufacturing reduces the time required to produce fixtures since they can be designed and printed in-house. This allows manufacturers to minimize time to market, increasing production and sales. Additionally, by using lightweight materials and optimized designs, 3D printed assembly fixtures can be more ergonomic and user-friendly as compared to traditionally manufactured fixtures.

Assembly fixtures and types may vary but the benefits of assembly fixtures are the same: to assist the assembly of parts for manufacturing. This leads to greater consistency, repeatability, and quality control. Operator interference is minimized which reduces the possibility of error, accident, or injury. While assembly fixture design can be achieved through traditional methods, additive manufacturing enables customization and accelerates time to market at a cheaper price point. 

Learn more about 3D Fixturing applications by reading our new 3D Fixturing Guide!

 

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