Maintenance companies are acquainted with the practice to rent a special tool for a non frequent job. Purchasing one would be too expensive in many cases. Often this is a choice driven by cost-effectiveness.
However 3D printing special tools brings a whole new perspective to maintenance companies.
Let’s see how…
What kind of tools are we talking about?
- Oddly shaped sockets and wrenches
- Filter pullers
- Specially shaped adapters and fixtures
- Drill guides (e.g. sheet-metal repairs)
- Guide tubes for boroscopes (non-medical)
- Protective covers for delicate parts/equipment
- Molds, dies and mandrels etc...
What kind of problems raise while renting a tool?
- Evaluating the renting process is often forgotten within companies. This can cause in the long-term that renting become more expensive than investing in a new tool.
- Rented tools are mostly available for a short period of time and their usage needs to be planned well in time so that they are available in the exact moment when they are needed.
- Many special tools have been produced to fit only one maintenance process or task.
Why 3D printing tools is a great alternative?
- 3D printed tools can be custom-made that exactly fit the required purpose(s).
- During the design process there are many opportunities to improve a tool and perfectly match it with the company’s needs. Furthermore 3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities in terms of materials and forms.
- 3D printing offers a lot more form freedom than conventional manufacturing processes. New novelties can be added in this way.
- The costs of designing and 3D printing a tool can be less in many cases than purchasing a new tool even if a certain job has a low frequency.
- Lead times of 3d printing can be a lot shorter than conventional manufacturing methods.
What can FM Design & Engineering do for your company?
- During an intake I explore the needs of the company in terms of special tools.
- In a detailed quotation I advise on production methods, materials, costs, deadlines and possible improvements.
- Following an agreement I make a 3D design of the special tool and let it print by a professional 3D printing service.
- In case it is needed I can guide the post processing of printed tools or parts with traditional manufacturing methods.
- I deliver the 3D printed tool according to the agreed deadline.
- With complex tools we can collaborate on a testing phase to assure the tool performs as requested.