3D printing — known as additive manufacturing — offers versatile, sophisticated technology that can be used by manufacturers across industries.
Today, experts have predicted a 300% growth in additive manufacturing over the next decade. While it won’t replace traditional means of manufacturing, 3D printing is radically improving production and inspection processes in metal stamping.
At Engineering Specialties, Inc. (ESI), we employ various 3D printing methods to create high-quality stamped metal parts for use in the medical, automotive, military, and aerospace industries, among others.
3D printing allows ESI to quickly and inexpensively produce prototypes for clients who present us with designs for new, never-before-manufactured parts. Because the prototyping is so quick, we’re able to delve fully into the trial-and-error process of testing and evaluation before presenting the part to the client, allowing us to fully perfect designs.
Rapid prototyping using 3D printing is also particularly useful for reverse engineering. When one of our clients requested that we machine a product that was previously cast, our rapid prototyping technology allowed us to quickly fabricate a to-scale prototype, which the client then tested for size and effectiveness. We received an order promptly afterward.
The method by which stamped metal parts are held and secured during production is often just as important as the stamping process itself.
With our 3D printing technology, we manufacture custom workholding solutions for all types of projects, allowing us to ensure stability, safety, and efficiency during all processes. Because we manufacture workholding fixtures in-house, we not only cut down on lead time but also avoid having to invest in costly custom machining solutions, thereby cutting down on costs for our customers.
3D printing also plays an important role in the final step of the metal stamping process — inspection.
Traditionally, manufacturers had two options for fabricating inspection fixtures; they could use clamps to hold parts in place during inspection, which can be a difficult, time-consuming process, or they could design and manufacture custom inspection fixtures in house or through a secondary manufacturer. The latter method, though it produces effective and easy-to-use fixtures, is also expensive.
At ESI, our 3D printing technology has greatly improved both our production processes and the quality of our stamped metal parts.
To learn more about additive manufacturing, or to discuss how our 3D printing capabilities can assist you during your next project, contact us today.