Read how an Adaptive customer solved their production bottleneck challenges with 3D printing in a recent article published on the Modern Machine Shop website.
Elliott Tool is a tube tool and burnishing product manufacturer located in Dayton, Ohio. They were having difficulties keeping up with the demand for custom fixtures and dies to meet their customer orders. They turned to Markforged and their Mark Two 3D printing system to ease their production bottleneck. They were so impressed with the lightweight ONYX material they began using 3D printing for their end use parts.
In order to stay competitive, manufacturers are pressured to develop more complex parts in less time. These part designs, in turn, require more sophisticated measurement and inspection processes to meet quality standards.
Today, QA organizations are looking for three primary advantages:
They want portability. Meaning, they want to make 3D measurements wherever you need to go. Not limited to the lab.
They want true accuracy. That is, they need accurate measurements in real-life operating conditions.
And they also want simplicity. They need solutions designed to provide accurate measurements with a simple, efficient measurement process.
Now, thanks to CREAFORM, 3D scanning systems can augment existing Metrology assets with accurate and consistent results.
The MetraSCAN 3D-R is a new robot-mounted optical 3D scanner for automated inspections on production floors. This self-contained system is designed for high-volume, 24/7 operations and requires minimal operator involvement. Even at production-floor speeds, the Metrascan 3D-R maintains a 0.078 mm accuracy for parts between 0.3m and 10m in size. New features include a powerful R-System control console, auto-calibration system, and the C-track optical tracking bar. The Metrascan is compatible with inspection software from 3D Systems and Polyworks.
The CUBE-RTM is a turnkey automated 3D scanning CMM solution for at-line inspection. This automated 3D measuring machine features MetraSCAN 3D-R, a powerful robot-mounted optical 3D scanner that can be integrated into factory automation systems without compromising on accuracy. The CUBE-R can inspect hundreds of parts a day, including complex designs. One of the keys to the systems high-productivity output is the controller’s ability to multitask. The system offers simultaneous operation of data acquisition and analysis to generate an uninterrupted measurement flow.
Thanks to the CREAFORM Academia package, 3D scanning and inspection processes can now be taught in class and used for research. Designed to be used in engineering courses, the Academia kits include portable 3D scanners, inspection and reverse engineering software, teaching kits, video tutorials, sample datasets, and five-year customer care programs.
In this Design2Part article, Frank Thomas explains how 3D Printing has evolved as a valid approach for manufacturers to enhance their agility on the plant floor by employing 3D printing for additive manufacturing. Whether they create replacement parts, tooling or jigs, the advancements in the durability of materials has enabled 3D Printing to be a dependable solution that is more affordable than ever before. Here are a few excerpts from Frank:
Thomas said that until fairly recently, additive manufacturing was used most often as a tool to create parts that you could hand to somebody so that they could see it, touch it, and provide some input as to what might need to be changed or modified. But that’s changed in recent years as new materials have been developed that enable printers to make stronger, more durable parts.
“Metal printing has always been there, but that has an economic value proposition that’s a bit challenging for it,” he said in an interview. “The ABS and nylon and other plastic 3D printers, up until the last couple of years, weren’t necessarily dimensionally accurate, and then they had challenges creating a part that’s functional. That’s what I think is different about the market today, compared to just, really, a couple of years ago.”
If the demand for 3D printed metal parts is going to grow significantly, especially for critical use cases, OEMs will have to be able to count on high-quality parts. Thomas believes the additive metal industry is up to the challenge because he’s already seen major improvements in quality in recent years.
“At the end of the day, this is really a materials game. If the materials that we’re able to bring to the market provide the end use quality that people are looking for, that’s critical.”
Both composite 3D printing and metal 3D printing are invaluable resources on the production line. They are often used to affordably and efficiently produce many of the low volume, high-strength, custom parts critical to manufacturing. In this paper from Markforged, you’ll learn how composite and metal 3D printing technologies can work together to optimize your digital manufacturing processes.
Examples of 3D printed tooling applications include:
Conformal Workholding for Metal Printed Parts
If a part can be 3D printed in metal, conformal workholding for the part can easily follow. Printing composite workholding for processing metal 3D printed parts solves the conformal work holding problem efficiently-whether for tapping, post machining, or QA inspection.
Tooling, Jigs and Fixtures
Using industrial 3D printers for tools, jigs, and fixtures can drop costs and cut lead time by over 90%, delivering highstrength, long-lasting parts next day.
Breaking your tools down into material-specific regions can optimize their properties while dropping cost and time to manufacture. Below are some properties that can be localized by splitting parts into metal and composite segments.
Our very own Frank Thomas was recently interviewed by Digital Engineering for the April issue that was focused on Design for Additive Manufacturing. In this article “Metrology for the Masses“, Frank is quoted a few times where he explains some of the challenges around metrology in manufacturing.
It was good to note that the metrology market is on a growth curve for the next ten years:
The global metrology market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 6.82% through 2027, growing from $607.9 million in 2016 to $1.25 billion in 2027, according to a report by Market Research Future. That includes traditional coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) as well as portable CMMs, laser scanners and optical digitizers.
Among Frank’s comments, he noted:
Many engineers don’t understand how laser scanning or otherforms of metrology can help them, according to Frank Thomas, metrology and additive manufacturing solution specialist at Adaptive
Corp. “It would surprise you how many engineers—when we show them the ability to 3D scan a part in a minute or two and in three mouse clicks, tell them if it matches their tolerance requirements or not—have never seen that,” Thomas says. “It was not nearly as fast and simple in the past as it is today.