LÄPPLE Group uses MakerBot 3D printers to halve lead times and costs

German automotive solutions provider LÄPPLE Group has unveiled how its lead times and costs have been halved after installing MakerBot 3D printers into its press shops and assembly lines.

The company has been using 3D printing across all subsidiaries to serve a range of applications including concept models, prototyping and serial production equipment.

In addition to significant cost and time savings, LÄPPLE is using MakerBot’s METHOD and Replicator Z18 desktop printers to eradicate the need for off-tool sheet metal parts in fixture manufacturing. Designers can now drop a native CAD file with precise print geometries straight onto a virtual build plate, automatically adjusting the print orientation. The result is a rapidly accelerated workflow and safer production. With the METHOD’s high-performance materials library, the company is also now able to carry out tool-less manufacture of components that can withstand moderate mechanical and thermal loads.

Martin Heckmann, development engineer at LÄPPLE, comments: “The MakerBot Replicator Z18 is outstanding for entering the field of additive manufacturing. Should a print not turn out as desired on the first attempt, we just try again. The extremely low print-costs per unit in the MakerBot allow us to adjust the parameters until we get a perfect result.”

The company is also using 3D printing to produce end-use components on demand, such as manufacturing tools that are used to connect complex plastic geometries with solid steel components. It is also using the Z18 for training purposes as part of its vocational programme which aims to equip young technicians with the skills to produce complex parts using additive manufacturing.

Nadav Goshen, CEO, MakerBot added: “LÄPPLE AUTOMOTIVE has embraced the possibilities that in-house 3D printing can offer, especially when engineers design and think with additive in mind. With MakerBot’s METHOD and Z18, manufacturers such as LÄPPLE can really embrace additive manufacturing for a wide range of applications – whether for  tools on the assembly lines or end-use parts.”

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