AFT Fluorotec is a worldwide leader in the manufacture and machining of seals and components in fluoropolymer and engineering polymers. AFT Fluorotec supply engineering components across a range of industries such as aerospace, construction, medical, power generation, renewable energy, communications and electronics.
We have recently invested in some new technology and are very excited to be able to share this with our customers. Investment in a new FORMLABS 3D printer gives AFT Fluorotec the ability to produce samples and prototypes quickly and efficiently for customers, allowing them to rapidly evaluate, test or trial components all while maintaining a low cost.
An additional benefit we will gain from having this technology is the ability to produce tools, jigs and fixtures for our CNC machinery in house.
Additive manufacturing will increase our ability to make multiple fixtures rapidly, without stopping the CNC milling machine from making customer parts, reducing lead times. It also means complex jigs, fixtures and tooling become easier to make, reducing costs and helping us to maintain competitiveness.
On the back of this, we decided it was the perfect time to explore the various benefits that are associated with 3D printing or additive manufacturing. But first, let us explain what exactly is involved in the process.
What is 3D printing?
Additive manufacturing, to give it its proper title, is the process of producing 3-dimensional objects from a computer file, where the part is built by adding material layer-by-layer.
3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes and components using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
What are the benefits of 3D printing?
With ever-improving technology, there are several benefits to 3D printing.
- Rapid prototyping
One of the biggest benefits that our customers will see from our investment into a new 3D printing machine is our ability to offer super-quick prototyping of complex parts and components. In comparison to machining prototypes, 3D printing is less expensive and quicker, which means any design modification can be completed at a much more efficient rate.
- Design flexibility
3D printing allows clients to bring highly complex designs to life. The design and print of complex may not be possible through the traditional manufacturing processes.
- Lower cost
Particularly when it comes to one-off parts or printed prototypes, 3D printing is a cheaper solution when compared to traditional CNC machining and injection moulding. This is because of the labour involved, in addition to the amount of material needed to produce the part in this way.
3D printing produces less waste material when compared to traditional manufacturing methods. This process not only saves on resources but also reduces the cost of the materials being used, which is a great benefit to our customers.
The main advantages of 3D printing are can be found in its speed, flexibility and cost savings. If you have small production runs or require one-off prototypes for testing and evaluation, then please get in touch and find out how we can help.