Additive manufacturing used for hydraulic workholding

James Tool Machine & Engineering Inc. uses 3D printing for workholding manufacturing. North Carolina shop uses additive manufacturing to assist in the engineering and building of hydraulic workholding. The company president said the days are numbered for subtractive manufacturing processes (most cutting machine tools).

09/12/2013


3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has been incorporated into the engineer and build phases of James Tool workholding devices and other products. A printed model is in the foreground, and the background is a Stratasys Dimension 1200ES machJames Tool designs and manufactures a wide variety of hydraulic workholding devices used in aerospace, automotive, and other high-precision industries. The company, based in Morganton, N.C., recently has installed 3D printing, a form of additive manufacturing, to its Engineer & Build Hydraulic Workholding Division. Because of the continuous custom work done here, it is imperative that the company advances with the technological developments in the design and production of its products. James Tool also offers CNC production machining and nonproduction precision machining to its customers, who comprise major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers to the aerospace, automotive, off-highway, energy, nuclear, and transportation industries.

According to Jeff Toner, president of James Tool, “We are always watching trends in the manufacturing industry, and we started seeing 3D printing make an impact, some years ago. We waited until the technology had evolved and become more affordable before making our investment.” The first machine was purchased recently and is currently used to support the company’s workholding division as well as help in the estimating of CNC machining opportunities.

CAD to model

Depending on the process and machine, additive manufacturing can make intricate parts that require little or no finishing. Courtesy: James Tool3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing in which material is built up, one layer at a time, to create a 3D solid working model from a CAD file. James Tool engineers believe this technology is substantially changing the way the company can serve its customers. It is referenced as additive manufacturing to distinguish it from the subtractive process of traditional machining, in which metal chips are removed from the surface of a blank workpiece.

James Tool assigned a team to research the current 3D printing technologies in great detail, before making their purchase decision to acquire a Stratasys Dimension 1200ES machine. This machine can run parts with a 10x10x12-in. envelope in an ABS plastic substrate.

Additive manufacturing involves the incremental buildup of material to produce a working model or a finished part, depending on materials, machine, and application. This is a valve. Courtesy: James ToolAs Toner explains, “We were up and running parts within two hours, after the installation and setup. This included the initial calibration on the machine and training from the local technician.” Because James Tool had run 3D imaging in its CAD designs for more than 15 years, the transition to 3D printing was practically seamless.

Jeff Toner noted that, while the interaction between James Tool and its customers has not changed substantially, it is quite helpful to have an actual part generated through the 3D printing process before engineering and quoting begin. He sees this new capability as a positive extension of the existing customer service process.

Manufacturing revolution

This is a 3D-printed control panel cover. Courtesy: James ToolPeering into the crystal ball for a moment, Jeff Toner also noted that he sees additive manufacturing as a “game changer” for the machining world. “The day is not far off when subtractive machining will be obsolete and parts will be printed rather than machined using conventional methods.” He plans for his company to become a leader in the additive and other advanced technology arenas. “The future of 3D manufacturing is really limitless, as anybody can now order a desktop 3D printer for their business or home office and have a 3D prototype part in less than a few hours. I expect this technology will revolutionize manufacturing and create a new breed of entrepreneurs.”

Quantifying the impact of this new technology at James Tool, Jeff Toner concluded that 3D printing has already reduced engineering and quoting time substantially for workholding fixtures and CNC production jobs.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

www.jamestool.com 

www.stratasys.com 

Key concepts

  • Additive manufacturing or 3D printing builds parts layer by layer rather than remove material as does traditional machining.
  • 3D printing has reduced engineering and quoting time.
  • “The day is not far off when subtractive machining will be obsolete.”

Consider this

Are you printing with stainless steel or making titanium parts with additive manufacturing? Tell us your story. www.controleng.com/contribute



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.