Automotive

Polaris optimizes tooling for powersport vehicles using Stratasys F370

Polaris Industries, a U.S. manufacturer of powersport vehicles, is using Stratasys 3D printing technology to optimize assembly tooling.

Through AdvancedTek, a Minnesota-based reseller of 3D printers, Polaris has integrated the Stratasys F370, from the F123 series, to create custom parts, reducing both time and costs concerning production.

“Instead of waiting anywhere between 8-12 weeks, we’re able to get designs within 24 hours,” explained Jenika Bishop, a Senior Project Engineer at Polaris.

“[3D printing] lets you have more iterations on the design process upfront so that you have greater confidence when you go to kick off your final tools for production.”

3D printed tooling for powersport vehicles 

As one of the first Stratasys resellers, AdvancedTek has supported a variety of manufacturers wanting to leverage manufacturing. Matt Havekost, VP of sales at AdvancedTek has been closely involved with the installation of hundreds of Stratasys 3D printers and has worked with Polaris for 7 years.

In 2014, Polaris used Stratasys’ FDM 3D printing technology to revive the classic motorcycle brand, Indian Motorcycles, which the company purchased. Polaris has used materials such as TPU to develop a rear fender tip locator, a guard for the wheels of a motorcycle traditionally made from leather and vacuum formed parts.

In addition, the company has used 3D printing to develop an interior cup holder for its snowmobiles. Additive manufacturing allowed for faster integration of this feature in the vehicle. Dan Wiatroski, Manufacturing Engineer at Indian Motorcycles, added:

“We install a lot of complex parts – badging, headdresses, things of that nature to our bikes. Having the ability to 3D print that complex geometry quickly and in a variety of materials gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Partnership between AdvancedTek and Polaris

AdvancedTek, formerly Advanced Technology Systems, was one of the first three partners to be added as an Authorized Channel Partner in North America (1996). AdvancedTek offers customer resources including a state of the art TekCenter in St. Paul, MN for use in demonstrating new technologies & materials, user training, printing services and support for customers.  AdvancedTek recently worked with local medical company, CSI in advancing use cases for additive in supporting design and manufacturing, as well as ETA (Engineered Tooling and Automation Burnsville, MN) for end use parts in custom automation systems.

Matt Havekost, AdvancedTek VP of Sales, explains, “Our primary focus is to help engineering teams see the value of direct access to additive technologies. Our team works extremely hard to help customers find applications that help them gain access to state of the art additive technologies and then leverage the selected technology to its fullest extent in both design and manufacturing.”

“Once a company has experienced direct access to additive technologies for problem solving, they can easily recognize the overall value to their business.  It is not just about getting a part, it transforms their process in designing, validating, testing, and producing great products in the most efficient way possible.”

A 3D printed rear fender tip locator being placed on a motorcycle. Photo via Polaris.
A 3D printed rear fender tip locator being placed on a motorcycle. Photo via Polaris.

Optimizing tooling with Stratasys

Earlier this year, the Stratasys F170 and Fortus 450mc, were integrated into the operations of Tamworth-based tooling manufacturer Brown & Holmes from the UK reseller SYS Systems. These 3D printers are being used to replace parts within its production solutions and fixtures in materials such as Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber.

Latécoère, a French aerospace manufacturer, has also previously used the Fortus 450mc to create a 3D printed camera case prototype as well as a component for the interior lining of an aircraft door. As a result, the lead time for these parts was reduced by 95% and a 40% decrease in tooling costs was reported.

Furthermore, with the recent addition of the F120 3D printer to the F123 series of 3D printers, Stratasys aims to improve feature reproduction, sturdiness, and surface quality for functional industrial-grade parts.

Vote for Stratasys in the “Medical, dental or healthcare application” category for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards.

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Featured image shows a 3D printed rear fender tip locator being placed on a motorcycle. Photo via Polaris. 

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