Custom Alignment Jig for CNC Lathe
Tooling and Fixtures
Siemens AG is Europe's largest manufacturing company and a truly global brand. Headquartered in Bavaria, Germany, they’re incorporating 3D printing globally throughout their development process. The Digital Industries Motion Control division is a leader in industrial automation and digital technology, with technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous handling systems, and additive manufacturing in its portfolio. The team is accustomed to 3D printing looks-like prototypes out of PLA. However, when they tried to use PLA parts in more demanding operations, they failed the test. Siemens recognized that Markforged industrial composite 3D printers offered them something new: the ability to print robust parts for manufacturing operations.
In order to automate production of a cast-and-machined aluminum component, Siemens engineers paired a UR10 lightweight robot with an INDEX GFG 250 lathe. In this cell, a worker places cast aluminum parts on an alignment jig. From there, the robot picks them up and precisely fixtures them in the lathe. By printing the alignment jig out of Onyx reinforced with Kevlar, they created a more accurate part that easily exceeded the durability of its PLA-printed counterpart. It cost just a fraction of what a conventional CNC milled alignment jig would have. To date, it has held up through over 600 cycles with few signs of wear.