Embrace the simple things: Innovation with 3-D printing

Not every advancement in 3-D printing has to be a major revolution. Although there are firms attempting to change the world with technology, there are also subtler developments with real-world applications for a range of people in different industries. 

Emerging technology can help Australian businesses innovate.

Innovation is essential to the growth of businesses in any economy, but according to the Australian Council of Learned Academies, the country is struggling in this regard. By utilising emerging technology such as 3-D printers in interesting ways, Australian businesses can greatly improve in this area. 

For example, most manufacturing leaders are aware of the benefits 3-D printing delivers in the final production process, but how many know that the devices have the ability to change the way anybody puts things together?

Create jigs with 3-D printers

Fixtures and jigs are essential when creating any physical product, as they allow manufacturers, mechanics or other craftspeople to hold tools and product components together during the assembly process. 

However, as products develop through the concept, design and prototyping processes, often the tools required to work on these physical creations need to mimic any new developments. The conventional way to produce jigs and fixtures can greatly slow this process down or prevent development all together due to budgetary constraints and time concerns. 

By choosing to 3-D print the required companion tools, businesses bring much greater freedom when prototyping. If an engineer discovers there's a more efficient way to make a product which requires a new jig or fixture, he or she can pass the feedback on to the design team who can then use CAD software to reshape the appropriate tools as required. The video below explains how this works. 

Why choose 3-D printing?

3-D printers can produce the parts necessary to create jigs and fixtures in a manner that is often quicker or cheaper than other methods. As the technology is proven to create value in low-volume production situations, it's perfect for creating these tools. 

According to planning software provider Stratasys, businesses don't need to be concerned about the potential durability of these implements either. While many consumer-grade 3-D printers produce items with plastic filament, the firm advised there are number of stronger materials able to improve this process.

Designing in the manufacturing industry? Contact us at SOLIDWORKS to see how we can help inspire engineering innovation and improve every aspect of your product development.