What is a fixture?
A fixture is mainly used in manufacturing industry to hold manufactured part and act as a support device to secure position in a specific location or orientation. The use of fixture is widely adopted by manufacturers as it improves the productivity by streamlining operation and quick transition from part to part.
How jig & fixture is done traditionally?
In contrast with mass production concept, a manufacturer will only need a few jigs & fixtures typically 5 – 100 pieces depending on their assembly line. These are normally manufactured via subtractive manufacturing method in metal / aluminium, and easily take 3 – 6 months time along with the master mould production.
Imagine a manufacturer with different projects – they would require a different fixture as the product differs. This translates into high overhead / inventory cost for keeping a short term use fixture.
This is where 3D printing comes in.
3D printing leverage on few points to tackle the current manufacturing problem:
- Print on demand. This not only allow you to significantly cut short on production time, it also allows you to streamline your operation at a quicker pace.
- Lesser cost. Optimize your fixture cost by printing it in a tough material but at a cheaper cost.
- Custom design. Some fixtures require custom novel design which traditional manufacturing has limitations, this is where 3D printing shines.
Here is what we did for our customer recently:
File Source: Client
Printer: Idea Series – uPrint SE
Materials: ABS Black & ABS White
Build Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Screenshots prior printing:
- This was printed in mere 3 hours and 30 minutes – shortened the production time by a significant gap.
- This allows manufacturers to better streamline their current operations without fuss.
- More importantly, this flexibility provides a significant competitive advantage to manufacturers as they have shorter turn around time!