9/19/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Producer of Custom Fixtures Uses AM to Reduce Time, Cost

Working with HK3D, JJ Churchill used 3D printing to reduce the time needed for its coordinate measuring machine (CMM) quality inspection process by 70 percent, and costs by 50 percent.


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JJ Churchill, a producer of custom fixtures, used 3D printing to reduce the time to prepare fixtures in its coordinate measuring machine (CMM) quality inspection process by 70 percent, and costs by 50 percent. The company worked with HK3D to produce the fixtures, which are for an OEM in the aerospace industry.

The fixtures that JJ Churchill makes have many precision-machined components, and producing them is a time-consuming process that requires many machines and skilled engineers. By using AM in some aspects of the process, the company is using its resources more effectively.

The fixture was needed to hold the components in the most effective orientation for the CMM. It needed to deliver repeatable precision loading and ease of use. Usually a fixture can only be manufactured once the components have been machined, a two-week process.

JJ Churchill worked with HK3D to design and deliver a working 3D-printed fixture in three days. The new process also reduced costs by half over traditional machining methods, resulting in less waste.

The company also credits it with removing a potential bottleneck in the prove-out process, between when components are being machined and proving out the CMM program.

“This is a great example of additive and traditional manufacturing working in synergy to deliver huge savings in time and money,” says Karan Singh, a manufacturing engineer and the lead in additive manufacturing at JJ Churchill.

“JJ Churchill has started to unlock the true benefits of additive manufacturing,” adds HK3D sales manager Tom Smith. “With new ground-breaking technologies on the horizon we are excited to see how JJ Churchill’s team will continue to evolve and apply them to their existing manufacturing processes.”