3D printing businessNews

The Toyota factory reduces production costs thanks to Zortrax 3D printers

Toyota factories in Poland are engaged in assembling engines for assembly cars in Europe, and these, in turn, continue their journey, pleasing users who value comfort and reliability. Employing over three thousand people, thanks to optimized processes, they can meet the needs of the ever-growing automotive market. In order to shorten the production time of various devices and reduce production costs, factories use 3D Zortrax solutions.

Toyota plants in Poland have been using 3D printers for years and have invested over 20 000 EUR in additive manufacturing equipment. Zortrax M300 Plus is part of their 3D printing studio. Due to its reliability and low maintenance costs, it is used to produce tools that optimize work on assembly lines. An increasing percentage of the instruments used in the factory are 3D printed in LPD technology.

“3D printing isn’t so much about production time. It’s not the fastest technology on the market, but it’s certainly the most flexible. We don’t need to stock spare parts as they can be 3D printed on demand. We can optimize designs in any way, because 3D printers are able to produce almost all possible geometries. Finally, we can start printing as soon as the need arises. We do not have to wait for the tooling department or an external subcontractor to have spare capacity to take care of our orders. Waiting times for the tooling needed went from weeks to days, sometimes even hours.” – emphasizes Łukasz Kondek, an engineer responsible for 3D printing at Toyota.

Parts that are made at the Toyota factory on 3D printers are divided into four categories. Positioning jigs, assembly jigs, assembly tools and covers are printed. 3D printed components on the Zortrax M300 Plus are often combined with parts made in other production technologies. One of the gauges used by Toyota has a 3D printed body and metal-to-metal contact pins that are CNC machined from nylon for durability. In this way, Toyota engineers were able to significantly extend the life of these instruments. Early prototypes were used for over 6 months before wearing out. And when it did, it took just 7 hours to print the new ones.

“One of the key advantages of using Zortrax 3D printers in industry is their proven, durable design and ease of maintenance. This means that global manufacturers such as Toyota can rely on them to print equipment critical to keeping the assembly line running. Reliability is absolutely essential as even short delays can generate losses well beyond the value of the printers themselves. Therefore, what we offer to large industrial customers is the certainty that our 3D printers will work as they should every time.” – says Michał Siemaszko, Head of Research and Development at Zortrax S.A.

Before Toyota factories started using 3D printers, assembly line jigs were made by a separate department with mostly CNC machines. Therefore, engineers had to design these tools within the constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing technologies. 3D printers such as the Zortrax M300 Plus have solved this problem, significantly reduced costs and shortened the lead time. The entire investment in 3D printing equipment used in Toyota factories in Poland paid off within one year.

TMMP has two plants located in Lower Silesia, in Poland. The factory in Wałbrzych produces electric transmissions for low-emission hybrid cars with 1.8-liter, 1.5-liter and 1-liter gasoline engines, as well as manual and semi-automatic gearboxes. Its current annual production capacity is 350,000 electric transmissions for hybrid drives, 258,000 engines and 633,000 gearboxes. The plant in Jelcz-Laskowice produces 1.5 l and 2.0 l TNGA petrol engines, and its production capacity is 312,000 engines per year. TMMP factories supply car assembly plants of Toyota, Stellantis and Lotus, run by European companies in the Czech Republic, Great Britain, France, Turkey and Russia, and outside Europe: in South Africa and Japan.

Source: Zortrax press materials

Comments are closed.

You may also like