GKN Driveline Florence Replaces Traditional Production Processes Across Factory-Floor with 3D Printing to Improve Business Performance

About GKN Driveline:

GKN Driveline is a leading tier one supplier of automotive driveline systems and solutions to the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers. GKN Driveline services over 90% of the world’s car manufacturers with its automotive driveline systems and solutions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group, and  luxury vehicles from the likes of Maserati and Ferrari are their notable clients.

Application of 3d Printing:

With lead times affecting productivity at their factory located in Florence, this division has identified several new factory-floor applications where 3D printing can replace traditional manufacturing processes. With the introduction of a Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer, his team can now produce complex assembly tools for the production line in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. This allows the plant to quickly undergo feasibility analysis of the tools and deploy them on the factory floor significantly faster, accelerating the entire production schedule, said by Carlo Cavallini, GKN Lead Process Engineer and Team Leader at the Florence plant.

Geared for Customization

To further improve efficiencies on the factory floor, the plant is also extending the use of 3D printing to produce customized replacement parts, on-demand. The Florence plant recently 3D printed a missing cable bracket for a robot, saving at least one week versus the time it would have taken to receive the part from the supplier. This makes GKN Driveline Florence significantly more flexible to manufacturing and maintenance requirements across the production floor.

“The ability to quickly 3D print tools and parts that are customized to a specific production need gives us a new level of flexibility and significantly reduces our supply chain. Considering that we produce several thousand individual parts a week, this ability to manufacture on-demand is crucial to ensuring our production line is always operational and maintains business continuity,” explains Cavallini.

Andy Middleton, President, Stratasys EMEA, concludes: “GKN Driveline Florence is a prime example of how a growing number of future-ready companies are leveraging the capabilities of additive manufacturing to improve different areas of their business. We are committed to helping these customers identify their traditional production processes that can be enhanced, or in some cases, replaced with our 3D printing solutions. It’s this type of applied innovation across the manufacturing process that has seen GKN Driveline Florence accelerate product development, reduce costs and reinvent its supply chain.”

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Source: “Carlo Cavallini”, Process Team lead from GKN Driveline,2017.

fdm 3d printing

Benefits of 3D Printing for Product Development

3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, has long been touted as the next Industrial Revolution. While this may still be some years away, find out more about how the technology today can impact your business.

Traditional Manufacturing Techniques

Before additive manufacturing, parts were commonly produced through subtractive manufacturing where simple designs were cut from materials and assembled together subsequently into a single unit. Over the years as design tools such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for engineers improved vastly, the limitations of existing manufacturing methods were exposed.

There have been many cases in which design improvements could be added to improve efficiency, safety or functionality but failed to be implemented as it was impossible to manufacture. As a result, product engineers had to restrict their product designs strictly to the limitations of manufacturing techniques.

The Game Changer: 3D Printing

By creating objects layer by layer, 3D printing allows parts once assumed impossible to be produced. This allows engineers to leverage on the full potential of CAD and other design tools to create designs limited by their imagination. Additive manufactured part also reduces part count in the overall production process, increasing efficiency significantly by replacing complex assemblies with single parts which can be made much lighter and with minimal wastage.

Today, we are free to imagine how we want our products to be designed without being held down by the constraints of manufacturing technology.

Visit our website http://www.prototype-in-asia.com/ today and reimagine the possibilities.






Source: Guillermo Mart´ınez de Frutos, Product Development Process for Additive Manufacturing, 2015