3D printing helps manufacturer cut tooling costs by 97%
German manufacturer Robert Seuffer uses Stratasys 3D printed injection moulds to produce parts for functional testing in their final material. This helps to significantly reduce both, tooling costs and lead time.
Stratasys, a manufacturer of 3D printers and materials for personal use, prototyping and production, announced that Robert Seuffer, a German supplier of parts for household appliances and commercial vehicles, has incorporated Stratasys 3D printing in its manufacturing process to significantly reduce the time and cost of producing injection moulded sample parts:
The injection moulding process is used by manufacturers all over the world to produce parts in a variety of materials, most commonly thermoplastics. Prototype parts are required to evaluate the part design for performance and fit before mass production. According to Stratasys, the ability to dramatically streamline the tool creation process for producing these prototype parts is another concrete example of how 3D printing is revolutionising manufacturing.
“Working with the automotive industry, sample parts need to be tested in the environment of moving mechanical parts as well as in high temperature environments,” explained Andreas Buchholz, Head of Research and Development at Seuffer. “With Stratasys 3D printing, we can design first drafts of the injection mould within a few days and 3D print them in less than 24 hours for part evaluation," Buchholz added.
"Traditionally, it would take eight weeks to manufacture the tool in metal using the conventional CNC process. And while the conventional tool costs us about €40,000, the 3D printed tool is less than €1,000, a saving of 97%.” Using Stratasys 3D printing technology, Seuffer also produces 3D printed moulds for its hot melt process. These parts, which are used to overmould low melting point polyamide over electronic circuit boards, are created with Stratasys’ rigid, opaque Vero materials.
“Companies worldwide are looking to introduce significant efficiencies to their manufacturing processes when introducing new products, and are discovering the benefits of additive manufacturing,” said Andy Middleton, General Manager, Stratasys EMEA at Stratasys. “More and more manufacturers are adopting 3D printed tools as a complimentary injection moulding solution – not only to cost-effectively test products before mass production, but also to produce customised parts.”