Volvo slashes tool production time by more than 94%
Volvo Trucks purchased its Fortus 3D Production System from Stratasys’ reseller CAD-Vision and within a three month period - had already 3D printed more than 30 different production tools to facilitate the way its production line operators worked. These include a range of different durable yet lightweight clamps, jigs, supports and even ergonomically-designed tool holders that ensure a more organized working environment for operators.
“We’re working in the heavy-industry sector, so reliability is naturally critical. So far every piece that we have 3D printed has proved to be 100% fit-for-purpose,” adds Jean-Marc Robin, Technical Manager, Volvo Trucks. “This is crucial from a practical aspect, but also instils trust among operators and quashes any traditional notion that everything has to be made from metal in order to function properly,” he adds.
AM enables design team to be more responsive
According to Robin, developing production tools using additive manufacturing also enables the equipment design team to be far more responsive, while avoiding possible wastage in the event of last minute design changes before tools are made.
“The fast and cost-effective nature of additive manufacturing means that we are far less restricted than we were even six months ago, allowing us to constantly improve our processes,” he continues. “We now have operators approaching our 3D print team with individual requests to develop a custom clamp or support tool to assist with a specific production-line issue they might be having. Additionally, in the rare case that the design specifications of a traditionally-manufactured metal tool were inaccurate, the lengthy and costly design and manufacturing process had to begin again. With a 3D printed part, we can simply alter the design specifications and re-3D print the piece in a few hours,” he adds.