3D printing technology is used for more than just rapid prototyping. It can also be used for tooling, that is quick manufacture of needed tools. This way 3D printing is used in major factories, bring savings going into the thousands every month. Time is money, and 3D printing lets you save on both.
Every minute in which the company isn’t operating means costs, losses and problems. Sometimes the entire production line might be halted as a result of a minor element malfunctioning in one of the machines. Usually companies don’t stock a complete supply of spares and specialized devices tend to include very unique parts. Ordering them and having them delivered might take weeks and be very expensive. What saves you is 3D printing and tooling.
What is Tooling?
The process referred to as tooling is creating tools—or their components—on your own. 3D printing technology has made quick and inexpensive production of such tools possible without having to own dedicated devices. With a 3D printer creating a bolt thread will take a few hours at most. A larger and more complex part may take a dozen hours: this is still less than the fastest delivery possible, which usually takes 24 hours or more. So, you save time and can resume production quicker. You save storage space and money that you’d have to spend on spares which perhaps would never have been used. Moreover, 3D printed parts are very durable and not inferior to original parts. And in most cases the cost of manufacturing such parts will be significantly lower.
Bosch as the Perfect Example of Using Tooling and 3D Printing
Bosch proves how useful tooling is and how much you can save thanks to it. The French branch of this conglomerate started using Zortrax 3D printers in 2015. The Mondeville-based company decided to purchase Zortrax M200 3D printers due to favorable reviews of this device as well as its cost-effectiveness.
The Mondeville factory has more than 700 employees working on manufacturing parts for the automotive industry. Zortrax M200 3D printers made the manufacturing process much more efficient as a result of giving the possibility to quickly print spare parts. Some of these would have cost upwards of 400 euros. 3D printing reduce the cost to 1 euro. Frédéric Boumaza, the factory’s Managing Director, stated that between July 2015 and October 2016 the factory saved more than 80 thousand euros specifically thanks to Zortrax M200 3D printers.
A 3D Printer in Your Company Has Many Advantages
Tooling can be used in many fields, especially where work is machine-based and where those machines require difficult and costly to obtain spare parts or tools to be fixed. 3D printing significantly reduces the time needed for repairs and obtaining the necessary tools, as well as costs. Materials such as the Z-ABS and Z-ULTRAT used for 3D printing with the Zortrax M200 are perfectly suitable for creating durable tools. With the application of 3D printing in a large company the long-term savings can be in the millions and many problems will evaporate.
Representatives of the Bosch factory called the introduction of 3D printers a revolution in manufacturing processes. Obviously, for that to be the case, you need to create or otherwise obtain 3D models for printing. But the 3D printing itself is quick and simple, a 3D printer hardly requires an operator’s input. In view of the attention 3D printing is getting as well as 3D-printing related investments of the world’s leading companies you can expect a 3D printer to be part and parcel of the inventory of every self-respecting factory.