Additive manufacturing has accelerated the tooling development cycle. Today, many companies directly print their tools. The tooling industry is the largest horizontal industry and one of the most crucial for industrial manufacturing sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defense, industrial products, or even automotive products—consumer and medical.
Whatever the application, the right and efficient manufacturing tools increase the efficiency and profitability of the business. The machine tool concept covers a wide variety of applications, including devices, jigs, gauges, molds, dies, cutting equipment, and models. The right tooling is the basis for successful manufacturing and directly affects production capacity as well as product life cycle, quality, and costs.
Although CNC machining is the most widely used technique in the manufacture of quality tools and its results are extremely reliable, it could prove to be expensive and time-consuming compared to other methods such as additive manufacturing, including options that could be cheaper and more efficient.
Additive manufacturing at the heart of the development cycle
Additive manufacturing has dramatically increased the tooling development cycle and is playing an increasing role in major industries. According to a recent survey published by Ernst & Young, a fifth of companies active in the aeronautics, automotive, mechanical, and engineering sectors use this technology to print their tools.
Tooling additive manufacturing applications cover a wide range of uses, including tooling used in casting and machining processes, assembly jigs and fixings, as well as custom medical guides. Materials currently used in tooling manufacture include plastics, rubber, composites, metals, wax, and sand.
Freedom of tooling design and the ability to create more functional end products
When evaluating additive manufacturing's innovative opportunities, a key strategy isn't to focus entirely on; however, this technology will revamp existing components or replicate ancient processes’ results.