Seven production challenges 3D printing can solve
Need to quickly test or prototype a concept? Have to replace a unique production component? Since 2015, MGS Machine has been using 3D printing to create thousands of production parts, prototypes and R&D test parts. Here are seven advantages of 3D printing versus machining.
- Speed up your innovation
If you have a complex design challenge, 3D printing allows you to test more concepts in less time. With 3D printing, you can print, test and update concepts in a matter of hours versus days or weeks waiting on fabrication. 3D printing can even result in “verge innovation,” the creation of a brand-new concept by combining two or more existing concepts.
- Enhanced part characteristics
Thanks to 3D printing, engineering parts with ultra-complex geometries is now commonplace. MGS engineers many 3D-printed parts to solve product-handling challenges associated with odd shapes such as funnels, buckets, guards/covers, twist tracks, and product grippers and clamps.
- Material versatility
Our printers can produce 3D parts in virtually every material on the market today. Parts are typically made from:
- Polylactic acid (PLA), an easy-to-print material that prints fast at low temperatures and holds its shape well.
- Nylon, a flexible material ideal for sanitary applications such as food and pharmaceuticals. Nylon can also be printed to hold a vacuum seal, making it an excellent choice for vacuum manifolds and wear/bearing surfaces.
- Reinforced nylon parts with three types of inlay filaments: fiberglass, carbon fiber or Kevlar®. This results in parts that can be stronger than machined metal parts and serve as incredibly flexible components that can withstand production life cycle challenges.
- Optimized machine speed and OEE
3D printing allows you to produce parts that are lighter than metal and, in many cases, lighter than machined plastic parts. Smaller, lighter parts give you the ability to maximize the speed of your robot motion profiles and other mechanical movements, resulting in increased OEE through line speed and component reliability.
- 3D printing saves money
Producing 3D-printed parts can dramatically reduce the cost of labor and raw materials. In many cases, 3D printing is far more cost efficient than traditional machining.
- Consistent quality — fast
3D printing allows for repeatable, high-quality parts with quick turnaround. This consistency eliminates the inconsistency and errors sometimes experienced with handcrafted parts.
- Infinite applications and solutions
3D-printing opportunities are virtually limitless, allowing you to solve the most daunting geometric challenges to quickly generate reliable, high-volume basis parts with outstanding quality. 3D printing is ideal for applications in low-profile robotic end effectors, product handling, high-wear zones, lightweight change tooling, aftermarket upgrades and so much more.
MGS has extensive experience delivering innovative 3D print solutions to optimize automation and machine performance. If you need a partner to solve your most complex challenges, we’d love to hear from you.