Schneider Electric finding Stratasys F170 3D printer to be a hit for efficient tooling operations

European multinational company, Schneider Electric, is seeing a significant uptick in efficiency across its tooling operations at their Puente la Reina plant in Spain, after investing in a Stratasys F170 3D printer.

The company is actively implementing its ‘Smart Factory’ project that was designed to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs using Industry 4.0 technologies and is finding Additive Manufacturing (AM) to be an integral component. Rolled out to every factory globally, each plant is challenged to embrace innovation and drive digital transformation.

Produced in ASA material using the F170, this 3D printed assembly-line tool is designed to hold switches during laser marking operations.

Recently named winner of the internal European-wide ‘Smart Factory’ Schneider Electric competition, the Puente la Reina plant has been recognized for accelerating the plant’s Industry 4.0 transformation largely due to efficiencies brought about by 3D printing and in particular, the Stratasys F170 3D Printer.

After enabling in-house FDM 3D printing, the plant has saved about €20,000 in the production of assembly-line tools, jigs, fixtures, robot grippers, and other end-of-arm parts, and easily paid off the original investment in the F170. Previously, the parts were outsourced to third-party manufacturers and were made using injection molding or CNC machining.

3D printed support tool and upper tool for its hand presses.
We’re able to produce new high-performance production tools in just one day, whereas it would have taken at least one week to outsource the same tools previously. This crucially reduces our dependency on suppliers and gives us much more control over tool production, which has increased the overall flexibility of our manufacturing process and accelerated our time-to-market for many products.Manuel Otamendi, Schneider Electric

In the case of robotic grippers produced for assembly-line robotic arms, 3D printing is used to produce an alternative to more traditional aluminum grippers, which are typically costly to replace. Instead of paying 200 euros to outsource production of a machined gripper per tool, 3D printing can yield an alternative for just half the price.

3D printed using ABS, this assembly-line tool is designed to hold switches during the production process.
“It’s not uncommon for aluminum parts of the mold to break when they collide, and when they do, be very expensive to replace, Not only does the 3D printed tool offer the same mechanical performances as the traditional tool, but importantly it ensures protection of more expensive aluminum parts when the molds collide. Should the 3D printing tool break, we can quickly 3D print a low-cost replacement within hours.Manuel Otamendi, Schneider Electric

Moving forward, Schneider Electric is exploring more ways to boost efficiency across its plants globally with 3D printing. Notably, they are looking to producing end-use components with high-performance FDM materials.

Learn more about our F123 Series and FDM thermoplastics. You can also contact us via our contact form, email us at, or call +65 6631 8555 for any further inquiries.

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