Honeywell: How Tooling Wins Acceptance of AM from Engineering, Manufacturing, Finance
Because of the power and importance of culture, tooling is the starting point for succeeding with AM.
A photo is worth a thousand words? This photo featuring a simple presentation slide with about 100 words on it has a great deal to say about the importance of 3D-printed tooling. This shot was taken during a talk given by Donald Godfrey, engineering fellow with Honeywell, at the most recent AMUG Conference. As this slide says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Any top-down strategy to adopt additive manufacturing is likely to fail in the face of a culture that is not prepared to accept and embrace this technology. However, using AM to make tooling—that is, 3D printing internally used custom tools as a prelude to eventually 3D printing finished parts—can provide an effective means of beginning to win over the culture.
Here is the text of the slide by Dr. Godfrey that appears in the image above:
Why Tooling is Important
1. Additive manufacturing is a change in corporate culture.
- AM tooling allows opportunity and time for skeptics to become familiar with the technology.
- "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." (Quote has been attributed to Peter Drucker, Thomas W. Lloyd and Edgar Schein.)
2. AM tooling provides opportunity for AM engineers to learn and perfect printing skills.
- There are such things as ugly babies.
- Printing failures harm the reputation and image of 3D capability.
3. AM tooling can be viewed by the financial and manufacturing branches of a company as a tool to reduce cost and schedule.
4. AM tooling can be easy examples of success.
5. AM tooling can reduce capital budgets and allow the finance departments to see it as a technology to offset costs and reduce tooling capital.
General Motors’ Spring Hill, Tennessee, facility is finding opportunities to replace conventional tooling components with 3D printed alternatives made in house. The result is cheaper tooling on a shortened timeline, with better functionality.
Tools for injection molding, die casting and powder compaction all illustrate the potential to achieve greater part performance and manufacturing efficiency by blending workpiece materials through AM.
The pneumatic gripper 3D-printed as a complete working unit has demonstrated its effectiveness for continuous operation over time. It is one illustration of the role additive is liable to play in making robotic automation easier.