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How jigs and fixtures can improve production efficiency

How jigs and fixtures can improve production efficiency

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Jigs and fixtures are essential tools used to improve production efficiency. Any manufacturing process requires efficiency, consistency and quality, whether within a large or small production environment.

 

Having the ability to customise these tools is also key in order to meet individual or unique production requirements, especially in lean manufacturing, to ensure on time demand is met with repeatability and precision.

 

They are utilised across numerous areas within manufacturing processes from simple to complex part assemblies, alignment or holding devices, as well as guides for traditional manufacturing methods such as milling or turning. These can be various materials including, plastics, metals, and wood.

 

Potential benefits related to jigs and fixtures include:

  • precision and reliability
  • quality and repeatability
  • maximised efficiency and increased productivity
  • consistency and improved workflow
  • simplified assembly operations
  • enhanced worker safety and human error reduction
  • reduce cycle/set up times and waste
  • simplify machining operations

 

Difference between jigs and fixtures 

Jigs and fixtures are a critical, but sometimes overlooked, component within manufacturing processes. They are simply a production tool to enable the precise manufacture of duplicate and interchangeable parts or products. Although similar they do function differently.

 

A jig is a custom-made tool used to control the motion or location of other parts or tooling. It holds, locates, supports, and guides a work piece in a fixed location during a specific operation.

 

A fixture is a device used to locate and hold a work piece in a fixed location, usually during a machine or assembly operation, and can be used for turning, milling, drilling, boring and grinding.

 

Jigs and fixtures and additive manufacture

Additive manufacture (AM) allows companies to optimise the creation of their jigs and fixtures, providing greater design flexibility with increased complexity, without the limitations associated with more traditional processes. This allows parts to be manufactured to a high degree of accuracy, as well as the added benefits of low production costs and increased speed of delivery.

 

This AM technology can form part of the design, prototyping and evaluation cycle providing opportunities for improvement across jigs and fixtures design, increasing functionality, performance and precision.

 

It can also support production on demand, including modifications and updates to ensure continuous, optimal and assembly reduction.

 

Utilising additive manufacturing within the production of jigs and fixtures will result in:

  • improved production efficiency
  • time and cost savings
  • greater customisation capabilities
  • improved design and functionality, including light weighting
  • improved performance
  • improved ergonomics
  • consolidation of parts
  • prolonged equipment life
  • performance

 

Jigs, Fixtures and Additive Manufacture at the 3M BIC

Additive manufacture can provide a cost-effective solution for some of the issues described above, however not all jigs and fixtures can or should be printed. More traditional manufacturing routes may be favourable.

Whether AM materials are suitable for a particular fixture, parts can still be 3D printed and used for authenticating fit and function minimising the need to shape solid blocks of metal; saving both time and money.

If you would like to speak to our team of experts to see if AM can support your jigs and fixtures production, gives us a call today on 01484 505601 or drop us a line at technology@3mbic.com.

 

More information about our Additive Manufacture capabilities can be found here.  

 

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