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Whether it’s tools, parts or products, mawe presstec GmbH in Hatzenbühl, Germany, has 30 years of experience in sheet metal manufacturing, providing custom solutions for key sectors such as aerospace, automotive, medical, engineering, and construction. Custom tools and fixtures for different machinery and processes are essential for the delivery of high-quality products – themselves often customized.
“Additively manufacturing our tools and fixtures with the Stratasys F170 has reduced part production time, while also streamlining the overall development processes on our factory floor.”
Marco Werling, managing director, mawe presstec GmbH
mawe presstec

Transforming the factory floor.

Typically manufactured in various metals such as milled aluminum, mawe presstec recognized that these tools and fixtures were time-intensive and costly to create, reorder or replace. This led the company to explore replacement production technologies. Aware of the benefits offered by additive manufacturing, Managing Director Marco Werling spearheaded the move to invest in an industrial grade Stratasys F170™ 3D printer to create in-house custom fixtures and tools for the factory floor. The results, explained Werling, have been transformational. Mawe presstec has shortened development cycles and processes considerably using thermoplastics to 3D print fixtures and tools for production floor machinery. “Additively manufacturing our tools and fixtures with the Stratasys F170 has reduced part production time and streamlined the overall development processes on our factory floor,” he said. “Producing fixtures in advanced thermoplastics delivers gigantic time savings for us – as much as 50% for certain parts – while also ensuring a higher level of customization and flexibility. The F170 can run 24/7 – this means higher productivity and the ability to print nonstop.” Mawe presstec often requires customized fixtures to achieve certain geometries and designs on sheet metal projects. These fixtures also have to be updated periodically to match specific job needs. One example is a factory floor fixture that needed changing to accommodate flap hinges. This would normally be manufactured in multiple stages or sourced externally but mawe presstec was able to create the fixture with hinges in one print operation on the F170.
Engineering-grade ABS material is mawe presstec’s material of choice since it meets all the criteria to make fit-for-purpose fixtures.
Engineering-grade ABS material is mawe presstec’s material of choice since it meets all the criteria to make fit-for-purpose fixtures.

Reducing fixture production costs.

The F170 has delivered substantial time savings since its installation and also met mawe presstec’s objective to reduce manufacturing costs. Replacing metal fixtures and tools with additively manufactured counterparts has decreased the cost-per-part and proven valuable when handling sheet metal parts. “We are saving around 20-30% on cost per part, simply because of the reduced material costs compared to the metal we used previously for fixture production,” Werling commented. “We also reduce material waste by additively manufacturing.” Engineering-grade ABS material is mawe presstec’s material of choice since it meets all the criteria to make fit-for-purpose fixtures. Fixtures demand a high level of durability and impact resistance to withstand the forces applied to them during the production process. At the same time, heat resistance and geometric precision are necessary to ensure production tools function effectively. The attributes of FDM® ABS material provide further advantages for fixtures that come into contact with polished metal products. Metal fixtures would scratch the surfaces of polished products in the bending and shaping stages of production. But the rigidity-to-softness ratio of ABS eradicates this problem. Additionally, using the Advanced FDM utility within GrabCAD Print™, the fixtures can be printed to avoid seams on the surfaces in contact with the workpiece, further ensuring a smooth, scratchfree finish.
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