The Jig is Up! Additive Manufacturing DOES Save Time and Money

The Jig is Up! Additive Manufacturing DOES Save Time and Money

Industry Situation

From design to launch, it typically takes anywhere from 2 to 5 years, or even longer. Much of it is based on the technology at that very point in time. As such, automotive engineers often consider cutting edge technology and utilize the latest to help bring their ideas to market rapidly.

A typical automotive vehicle would take on average 17 to 35 hours for hundreds of skilled workers to assemble. While much of today’s assembly process has moved towards automation, there are still plenty of assembly processes which still rely on manual labor.

From understanding the situation and designing a jig, process engineers would typically take anywhere from a day to a week to design the right jig for the process depending on the complexity. Manufacturing of the jig can take anywhere from days to even weeks if it were outsourced.

How Additive Manufacturing can help

Additive Manufacturing has come a long way from simply rapid prototyping. From only allowing engineers to visualize and test a jig for fit in a limited amount of materials, Additive Manufacturing now allows much quicker manufacturing speeds in a wide spectrum of materials that enable engineers to test the right combination of design and material and take it through to production. In most cases, jigs do not require high material properties.

However, most are produced in metal simply because it would be more cost effective through CNC than to produce a mold just for injection molding if the quantities did not match up for a feasible Return On Investment (ROI).

What the process is like

Factory technicians work together with the engineering department to design jigs for various assembly processes around the plant. Additive Manufacturing can rapidly prototype and produce high volume jigs in a matter of days or even hours. By rapidly producing various jig designs, process engineers can enjoy the flexibility of designing multiple iterations in one print cycle and test them the very next day to find the perfect fit. This enables them to be able to find a better solution and move quickly to full scale production of the various jigs.

How Endeavor 3D can help

With our wide range of the latest Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 5200 and Metal Binder Jet (MBJ) printers from HP and GE respectively, we can produce jigs in both polymers and metal alloys.

Additive Manufacturing allows our clients to have flexibility both in complex jig designs as well as volume of parts they require. By eliminating MOQ requirements, our customers are able to focus on finding the perfect JIGsaw piece to their process.

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