Volvo Trucks is utilizing 3D printing technology to produce manufacturing tools and fixtures at its New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia. The implementation of 3D-printed manufacturing tools enables quicker production.
According to a press release, 3D printing has improved quality and precision by printing exact copies from models. The technology is said to eliminate error, streamline the process, and enable customers to receive end products quicker.
There are currently more than 500 manufacturing tools and fixtures in use on the NRV shop floor produced using 3D printing. All of these parts were printed at the Volvo Innovative Projects lab at the Dublin facility. In the lab, Volvo Trucks primarily uses Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), a 3D printing technology that uses a laser to sinter powder plastic material into a solid structure.
Using SLS allows engineers to design parts by drawing the end product, putting it in the machine, and leaving it to print. This cuts down on the number of hours spent building parts through traditional tooling methods, and increases flexibility in manufacturing.
Source: Volvo Trucks