Prototyping and jig production using Markforged's 3D printer "X7" accelerates manufacturing speed

Currently, industrial 3D printers are attracting attention from various industries as a presence that greatly helps improve work efficiency.

‍Azbil Corporation's Product Development Department's Prototype Technology Gr. was originally engaged in everything from jig design to production while advising clients on processing and adjusting delivery dates at the prototype consultation desk. Since then, we have implemented manufacturing using 3D printers and succeeded in streamlining operations.

Markforged X7 used by Azbil

This is the Industrial Series 3D printer "X7" from American 3D printer manufacturer Markforged, which Azbil is using. Using continuous carbon fiber, etc., parts with the same strength as aluminum can be manufactured. The modeling size is large, and it corresponds to full-scale small and medium volume production. In addition, it is an industrial 3D printer that can simultaneously check the quality of the modeled product by inspecting it during modeling with the laser measurement function.

Introduction Background: Importance of Speed ​​and Operational Efficiency

Mr. Ishikawa of Azbil's Product Development Department's Prototype Technology Gr. said, "Our value is speed. What appealed to me about 3D printers was the sense of speed in manufacturing. Even if it is not necessary, a 3D printer can automatically create any shape.We wanted to improve the efficiency of the prototyping work by doing the work that would have to be done by humans." I'm here.

He continued, “We had purchased a 3D printer for consumer use, but it was around April 2016 that we first made an internal proposal to use an industrial 3D printer for prototyping. In 2017, we made a proposal for outsourcing trial molding, but it did not go as far as introduction.In 2018, we conducted an internal needs survey and realized cost effectiveness. Through calculation and outsourcing, we were able to understand the effects of the 3D printer within the company, and finally we were able to introduce it.”

Operation method and effect: Used for jig production and mockup. Changes in the behavior of people involved in manufacturing

Most fixtures are manufactured using X7. In addition to chucking jigs used in cutting, we also make jigs for assembling products.

In addition, Mr. Ishikawa of Azbil's Product Development Department Prototype Technology Gr. said, "In addition, mockups for new products, mockups for pre-manufacturing checks of workpieces without drawings, sensor covers for new product field test items, etc. I am using it."

‍For example, when the handle of a milling machine used in the department broke, Mr. Ishikawa used the X7 to 3D print a new handle to replace the broken one.

‍Even when parts cannot be procured because the machine itself is old and the manufacturer does not support it, production is possible with a 3D printer.

Production method

  • design method

Reverse engineering and 3D modeling using vernier calipers. The metal part and the resin part are intended to be press-fitted, and the rotation stopper is a key groove.

  • Materials used

Using Onyx. Initially, I thought I would use carbon fiber, but I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible, so I decided to use Onyx first.

  • Production time/cost

Created in a total of 34 hours. The handle was ready for use the day after I started making it.

production time

Modeling (reverse engineering) 1 hour

Wire cutting setup 1 hour

Processing 5 hours

Build time 26 hours

Assembly 1 hour

total 34 hours

As you can see from the table above, 3D printers make it possible to create things in a short time.

broken handle

Handle made with Markforged X7

A 3D-printed handle actually being used on a milling machine

‍Future Outlook

‍Currently, Azbil is exploring new possibilities for 3D printers, not only for jigs and mockups, but also for final products. Mr. Ishikawa, Prototype Technology Gr of Azbil's Product Development Department, said, "We want to further accelerate the speed of manufacturing within the company."

3DPC will continue to provide maximum support for our customers' manufacturing with our specialized knowledge of 3D printers.

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