Following the advances made in prototyping, Albéa extended the use of PolyJet to tooling.
“We not only use the Connex3 to create prototypes
but to create assembly tools for the production line. We’ve been able to reduce our supply chain by removing the need to outsource prototypes and tools, resulting in significant efficiencies across the production process,” said Crapet.
One example is a 3D printed production tool used to hold packaging products in place during painting. This helps Albéa’s technicians assess part shape and size to ensure the correct fit in the painting booth. “Using Digital ABS, we can quickly produce assembly tools that perform like our traditionally manufactured tools.
We used to produce these parts in two weeks using CNC machining, but with our Connex3 it now takes us only two days,” said Crapet. With the success of PolyJet in improving production and prototype quality, Albéa is now looking to FDM to further strengthen its tooling capabilities.
“The positive impact additive manufacturing has had on our processes can’t be overstated – the numbers speak for themselves,” said Crapet. “It has become central to our prototyping activities and our production line, so naturally we want to explore how FDM can deliver similar value in other application areas.”