James Tool Machine and Engineering designs and manufactures a variety of hydraulic workholding devices, used in aerospace, automotive and other high-precision industries. Because of the company’s continuous custom work, the company has recently installed 3D printing, a form of additive manufacturing, to its Engineer & Build Hydraulic Workholding Division. The company also offers CNC production machining and non-production precision machining to its customers, who comprise major OEMs and suppliers to aerospace, automotive, off-highway, energy, nuclear and transportation industries.
According to Jeff Toner, president of James Tool, “We are always watching trends in the manufacturing industry and we started seeing 3D printing make an impact, some years ago. We waited until the technology had evolved and become more affordable before making our investment.” The first machine was purchased recently and is currently used to support the company’s workholding division as well as help in the estimating of CNC machining opportunities.
The company assigned a team to research the current 3D printing technology in great detail, before making its decision to acquire a Stratasys Dimension 1200ES machine. This machine has the capability of running parts with a 10 in. x 10 in. x 12in. envelope in an ABS plastic substrate.
As Toner explains, “We were up and running parts within two hours, after the installation and set-up. This included the initial calibration on the machine and training from the local technician.” Because the company had run 3D imaging in its CAD designs for over 15 years, the transition to 3D printing was practically seamless.
James Tool Machine and Engineering, Inc.