3DP Applications

Jabil cuts manufacturing time and costs with Ultimaker 3D printers

Jabil, a global manufacturing services company, has achieved significant cost and time reductions for low-to-medium volume manufacturing by integrating Ultimaker 3D printers at their Auburn Hills facility.

Slashing turn-around times

The Auburn Hills facility has been exploring the use of Ultimaker 3D printers to produce tooling, fixtures and jigs in-house. Previously the facility out-sourced fabrication of tools to machine shops .

John Wahl VI, a Tooling and Manufacturing Engineer for Jabil Auburn Hills, is quoted in a Jabil 3D printing case study saying “It could take up to three weeks for a machine shop to make a simple tool. For something more complicated with moving parts, it could take up to two months.”

3D printing has allowed Auburn Hills to reduce time constraints, quickly tailoring and customising parts in days rather than weeks. With manufacturing entirely in-house, customers also have extra peace of mind knowing that designs will not have to be shared with anyone outside of Jabil.

Ultimaker 3D printers at Jabil's Auburn Hills facility. Photo via Jabil.
Ultimaker 3D printers at Jabil’s Auburn Hills facility. Photo via Jabil.

Immediate benefits

The team at Auburn Hills received training from Jabil’s 3D printing specialists on hardware, software and design principles for additive manufacturing. The benefits were “realized almost immediately. Within three hours of setting up the first Ultimaker 3D printer, we had a job to print spare parts. The alternative was to stop manufacturing until the part could be produced, but we made them that day using 3D printing.”

Another early case saw Auburn Hills engineers improve the aesthetics and functionality of a fixture whilst simplifying and speeding up production compared to outsourcing the task to a machine shop. According to Wahl “previously, a typical timeframe to go from problem discovery to final solution could take months. With 3D printing, we completed that entire process in weeks.”

Jabil say that the Auburn Hills facility has achieved 30 percent cost reductions and an 80 percent time reduction on the production of tooling, fixtures and jigs.

Rush LaSelle, Senior Director of Business Development, said:

“New technologies, such as 3D printing, completely change the economic value equation because now we can produce a lot size of one as affordably as much larger volumes”

LaSelle wrote an article in 2017 for 3D Printing Industry detailing his vision of where the additive manufacturing industry is headed in the next five years.

Last year, Jabil became the first commercial customer of the Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020 3D PCB printer.

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Featured image shows Ultimaker 3D printers at Jabil’s Auburn Hills facility. Photo via Jabil.