The company has for over 30 years been manufacturing tools, parts, or products for use in key sectors such as aerospace, automotive, medical, engineering, and construction. Custom tools and fixtures for different machinery and processes are essential for the delivery of high-quality products – themselves often customized.
But with the high costs and lengthy turnaround time in creating, reordering, or replacing the tools and fixtures via traditional manufacturing, mawe presstec begun looking for an alternative and decided to turn to 3D printing by acquiring the F170 from Stratasys. Results have been nothing short of transformational since then.
Producing fixtures in advanced thermoplastics delivers gigantic time savings for us – as much as 50% for certain parts – while also ensuring a higher level of customization and flexibility.
The F170 can run 24/7 – this means higher productivity and the ability to print nonstop.Marco Werling, Managing Director at mawe presstec
The manufacturing of customized fixtures to achieve certain geometries and designs on sheet metal projects are often a necessity and has to be updated periodically to match specific job needs.
One such example is a factory floor fixture that required changing to accommodate flap hinges. This would typically be manufactured in multiple stages or sourced externally to a 3rd party, but the F170 allows the fixture with hinges to be printed in one job.
Besides substantial time savings, mawe presstec has also decreased the cost-per-part by around 20-30% with additive manufactured parts while finding great value in using engineering-grade ABS material as it fits all the criteria to make fit-for-purpose fixtures.
One benefit was the rigidity-to-softness ratio of ABS that overcomes the typical problem of metal fixtures scratching the surfaces of polished products during the bending and shaping stages of production.
Furthermore, a smooth, scratch-free finish can be achieved with the Advanced FDM utility found within GrabCAD Print by printing it to avoid seams on the surfaces in contact with the workpiece.
Initially planned for fixture and tool production, the F170 has also enabled mawe presstec to do prototyping to help potential and existing customers visualize designs better and accelerate the overall sales process.