October 22, 2020
Eaton has announced its Vehicle Group is implementing a new 3D metal printing program as a part of its Industry 4.0 strategy to reduce development time and improve efficiency. The first metal printer system was installed at the Kings Mountain, N.C., facility, and a global deployment of 3D polymer printing technology is slated to be completed by first quarter 2021.
The 3D printers are being sed to create high-quality fixtures, safety devices, automation grippers for assembly and handling, and maintenance components requiring replacement. Prototype development is following the same strategy to support faster product development trials and improve efficiency.
Improving Output and Efficiency
To speed up the design process, scanners are used to create 3D models of existing components. This process allows components to be reverse-engineered to better leverage 3D printing capabilities, including changing component design to use less material, the addition of different topography elements or consolidating multiple components into a single part.
As an increasing number of 3D printers are deployed across the globe, Eaton’s Vehicle Group has been realizing further operational improvements including lead-time reduction and cost savings, the company says.
Going forward, the Vehicle Group’s 3D printing capabilities will be used to further reduce production time and drive efficiency.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.