It’s not just additive manufacturing’s time and cost savings that GKN enjoys. Trimble believes one of its key benefits is the creative freedom it gives users. Previously, GKN engineers were limited by the economic and physical constraints of traditional manufacturing. Now, teams can create tools that were impossible to produce prior to the adoption of additive manufacturing.
This freedom is not just felt in the ability to create designs that were previously impossible, but also in the ability to improve working environments and processes for production line operators. According to Trimble, creating optimized, accurate 3D printed tools without being restricted by size or shape has enabled them to tailor tools to specific jobs and improve the functionality of their operations. In certain cases, GKN’s engineers report a dramatic reduction of 40% in concessions, and some jobs even dropped from two operators to one.
To achieve these goals GKN relies heavily on its Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printer. “The Fortus 900mc offers the largest build size of any FDM® 3D printer, enabling us to quickly produce tools to meet any requirements. We’re already utilizing this technology to design and 3D print previously inconceivable tools, which then enable us to manufacture extremely complex parts that would be uneconomical or just physically impossible by any other means,” said Trimble.