GKN Aerospace, serving over 90 percent of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers with aerostructures, engine systems and technologies, is dramatically reducing production-line downtime by removing design constraints for multiple tooling applications with the integration of Stratasys F900 3D Printer at its Filton manufacturing site in the UK and is now experiencing freedom in designing complex tools.
Tim Hope, Additive Manufacturing Center Manager, GKN Aerospace, said, “The company has decided to invest in the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer in a bid to cut lead times for production-line tools, and to create complex parts, impossible to make with traditional manufacturing methods. Since integrating the F900, we have dramatically reduced production-line downtime for certain teams and are enjoying a new found freedom to design complex tools.” He, added, “We can now cost-effectively produce tools for our operators within three hours. This saves critical production time, and by printing in engineering-grade thermoplastics, we can produce 3D printed tools with repeatable, predictable quality every time. All while matching the quality of a traditionally-produced tool, and reducing the costs and concessions compared to equivalent metallic tooling.”
The creative freedom offered by this technology is one of the key benefits of additive manufacturing. It is possible to rapidly produce tools to meet any requirements with the use of F900 that offers the largest build-size of any FDM 3D printer.
Even the complex geometries and cavities that would otherwise be difficult are now feasible with the F900. The F900 is now utilized to design, and 3D print, previously unthinkable tools, enables to manufacture complex parts that are uneconomical or just physically impossible by other methods. Associated with the design freedom benefits, GKN Aerospace has been able to achieve a 40 percent reduction in material waste.