A phenomenon that is expanding more and more every day in the manufacturing world concerns additive printers. These tools lend themselves to various functions useful to companies and allow the creation of objects through digital 3D models.
Let’s see what the advantages of 3D printing are and how Arcos has been able to integrate it into its own reality, at the service of the growth of its customers.
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What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing: it creates three-dimensional objects using a digital 3D model as a reference. The printer uses the model provided by a computer to create a series of cross-sectional portions: each portion is printed one on top of the other until the final 3D object is obtained. For this reason, we speak of additive manufacturing: the processing of the object takes place through the addition of material and not its removal, as is the case of milling or turning, therefore defined as subtractive production.
The advantages of 3D printing
The advantages of 3D printers are many: first, they are faster, safer, and easier to use than other technologies and allow a considerable saving of material in the realization of the product. With a single construction process, they guarantee the printing and assembly of parts of different materials, even those characterized by different physical and mechanical properties. In addition, they allow to improve the performance of the objects thanks to the possibility of creating very light molds without sacrificing any of the mechanical properties of the element.
There is much more: with 3D prints, production times and costs decrease significantly. In fact, the production of the model takes place in a few hours and, while before it was necessary to wait days or weeks for the vision of a prototype, with this technology it is possible to have a quick confirmation of the result.
Labor costs are extremely limited as there is a need for a single qualified person to start printing; while the energy costs of the machine, which turns out to be the same as a laptop, are optimized by the ability to produce in a single phase. The cost of the material, be it filament spool or resin, is lightened by the savings in quantity compared to traditional processes.
Finally: for the 3D printer there is no complexity in manufacturing an object. There are therefore no limits in creativity and in the possibility of customization: to modify an object, just apply the desired changes to the 3D model without any concrete constraint or difficulty.
3D printing enters the Arcos world
Thanks to the ability to visit customers from very different sectors daily, Arcos was able to witness the important evolution of 3D printing in the manufacturing world within the daily business life. Precisely for this reason, a 3D printer was introduced within its fleet, capable of satisfying the increasingly particular needs of customers and allowing them to take advantage of this technology.
3D prints have integrated into the Arcos robotic reality in two ways:
- To design and manufacture the tooling components such as the robot claws, the positions of the rotary tables in wich the pieces are positioned to be machined, the indexing or piece turning stations (when it is necessary to fill the cell). All these elements change according to the product, so 3D printing is so useful: they can be designed to measure and integrated into the Arcos cell without problems.
- When you need to process the products that are the results of the prints, whether by grinding, polishing or more.
For every need, there is a solution: the example of the customer Arcos
The idea of introducing a 3D printer was born during a visit to an Arcos customer, where changes were noted with respect to the system initially installed. The positions, the claws and the piece reference elements were different from those installed during the testing phase. How was this possible?
The customer, having to deal with various types of orders, different products and variable production batches, and not wanting to abandon the convenience of Arcos cells for a return to manual work, decided to produce these parts internally using a 3D printer. In this way, he didn’t only reduce tooling costs, but he was also able to guarantee the production of these components, freeing himself from the limits that the continuous change of orders imposed on him.
By reducing the lead time and expanding the spectrum of achievable products, the customer found a great economic benefit and a great logistical relief. In fact, as we no longer had to ask third parties to produce these elements, there were no longer problems related to delays or imperfections. Witness to this successful example, Arcos wanted to exploit this product to make the cell manufacturing process faster and even more precise than before.
The evolution of this technology and the future of the sectors
Additive printing has undergone a rapid evolution in various sectors and is used in many realities: from the production of medical prostheses and the manufacture of aerospace components, to the use in the automotive field and also in the costume jewelery sector. These are the production methods with which you’ll have to begin to become familiar: the materials, geometries and fragilities involved are a new challenge, a source of stimulus and enthusiasm for the Arcos world.
The 3D printer, therefore, is not only seen as an integration tool to speed up and perfect robotic cells, but is also the result of a production process with which Arcos will interface for the next surface processing. The future will see less forgings, castings or mechanical processes and more details made in additives: developing a 360-degree knowledge of the sector, its critical issues and its strengths becomes therefore essential to guarantee the customer the best possible service.
3D printing is a technology that is taking up space in multiple realities of the manufacturing sector. In fact, this type of additive manufacturing has multiple advantages: speed, precision, material and cost savings, great creative freedom. For this reason, Arcos has also decided to integrate a 3D printer within its own reality to optimize processing and always guarantee the best for its customers.
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