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3D Printed Tooling for Composites in a Dash at Oxford Firm

Oxford based Engineering company Dash-CAE has invested in one of the largest 3D printers in the UK to help accelerate manufacturing in composites. Anticipating demand from the automotive and aerospace markets, Dash-CAE’s lean approach combined with its Stratasys F900 is now helping reduce production time by up to 85%, design time by 90% and all at a fraction of the cost.

“Our 3D printers are helping us slash development times and costs, while building fully functional parts and production tools,” explains Tim Robathan, Managing Director of Dash-CAE. “Other large printers such as ours may be based at customer sites for internal use only, yet ours is open to all.”

Dash-CAE has been a partner to the transportation industry since 2006, providing a lean pit-stop like approach to design and engineering. “Our primary interest was to develop easier processes for moulding carbon fibre parts,” says Robathan. “As a result we pioneered tooling for composite parts – both for direct and lost tooling.”

Dash-CAE’s 3D print division is now creating rapid tooling, jigs, fixtures and production applications. It has three Stratasys ‘Fused Deposition Modelling’ (FDM) printers covering build sizes from 0.305m3  to 1m3. FDM Technology works with production-grade thermoplastics to build strong, durable and dimensionally stable parts with high accuracy and repeatability. The technology is clean, simple-to-use and supported production-grade thermoplastics are mechanically and environmentally stable.

“With 3D printing, we can quickly run through multiple complex iterations and save a lot of time,” continues Robathan. “Carbon fibre is very cost effective but tooling costs can be prohibitive. Our tooling is the alternative, and can by used in autoclaves and ‘Out of Autoclave’ processes.”

Companies: Dash-CAE | Engineering, Technology & Additive Manufacturing

Industries: Aerospace, Automotive and Road Transportation, Tooling

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