You have probably heard a good deal about 3D printing and how it is taking production industries by storm. However, the technological advances in 3D printing have started to play a significant role in the production of cable assemblies and wire harnesses. Here at Meridian Cable, we have greatly benefitted by utilizing the advancing technology of a 3D printing wire harness.
The remarkable tech for 3D printing wire harness affords excellent opportunities for rapid prototyping and a more efficient overall production timeline. But how exactly is 3D printing beneficial to Meridian Cable’s production? What tech does Meridian use, and what can 3D printers make? Plug in and power up as we explore all about 3D printing wire harnesses and other components.
Getting Plugged in: What is 3D Printing?
First things first, let us define what 3D printing is. 3D printing is a modern wonder of innovation. A 3D printer is able to construct a component, shell, form, shape, or object from a single machine. Using a computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printers build a three-dimensional object by layering pliable material. They are typically used to create objects out of plastics or other moldable materials. A single dispenser flows back and forth across the printing field to deposit and layer the building material.
3D printing technology has exploded over the last several years, resulting in a surge of applications for the craft. Because there is so much opportunity to build and create practically anything via 3D printing, it is no wonder that production industries are catching on to its possibilities.
What Can 3D Printers Build?
There are numerous examples of what 3D printers can create. The truth is, the list could be pretty nearly infinite. Everything from car parts to cell phone cases can be manufactured by utilizing 3D printing technology. This versatile technology presents a whole world of possibilities.
In relation to 3D printing wire harness components and other related elements, 3D printing can be used to efficiently create high-quality elements. Some of the items that we have used 3D printing for are:
- Molds for building wire harness components
- Housings for cable assembly connectors
- Connector shells
- Many more components
The versatility that 3D printing offers allow us to build a wide variety of components.
Benefits of 3D Printing Wire Harness Components
With the advancement of three-dimensional printing comes incredible innovation in how we are able to engineer our components. There are several key benefits that have presented themselves to us as one of the leading cable assembly and wire harness manufacturers in the world.
A few of the most noteworthy benefits of 3D printing wire harness components are:
- Cost: The cost of 3D printing is often much less than using other methods. This enables manufacturers to create quality components that cost less for both the business and the customers.
- Flexible Customization: 3D printing wire harness housings and other components offer incredible flexibility in what we can create. Let’s be honest; we are all about customization and building exactly what you need. 3D printing provides an astonishing potential for creating customized components. The possibilities for customization are nearly limitless because of 3D printing.
- Lightweight components: 3D printed parts (such as housing and fixtures) often means these components are more lightweight than other manufacturing methods. By using plastic or light moldable resin, the finished product is much more lightweight and easy to manage.
- Simplified production: Another great benefit of 3D printing is that production is more streamlined for wire harness parts. Because 3D printed components only require one machine to build, they are a much more efficient way of crafting the more minor elements to cable assemblies and wire harnesses. This simplified manufacturing is ideal for creating unique wire harnesses and cable assembly components.
- Speedy prototyping: A key bonus to 3D printing is that it enables us to create prototypes for our clients more rapidly than other manufacturing methods. This expediency means that once the design phase is completed by our on-site engineers, the prototype for your wire harness or cable assembly can be completed and tested as soon as possible.
By fast-tracking, the production of the prototypes for wire harness components, the overall production, testing, and inspection phase moves much more rapidly.
- Faster production times: When the prototyping phase moves more quickly, the overall production time can be much faster. As the 3D printed components will be used in the final product, the production for the entire order can be handled expediently.
- Ease of reproducing future orders: Once the production of your custom wire harness is complete, it can be easily replicated from the 3D printing files for your order. This means that we can recreate an order for custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses with ease.
And those benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. As 3D printing technology progresses, it will continue to shape the way Meridian Cable crafts custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses. Though the world is far from fully embracing the possibilities that 3D printing has to offer, we are proud to be on the cutting edge. We fully intend to continue to develop the potential of how 3D printing wire harness components can change the world of production.
The 3D Printers that Meridian Uses for Prototyping and Production
Over the last several decades, Meridian Cable has been at the forefront of innovation in production and cable manufacturing. The 3D printers that we use are among the most precise printers available. We take pride in the tech that we use to build cable assemblies and wire harnesses. We use three different types of 3D printers, giving us a more diverse range of components and parts that we are able to print.
The three printers that we use are:
- Form 1 3D Printer
The Form 1 printer uses stereolithography to print. This process involves exposing the resin to ultraviolet lights to harden. This process works because the ultraviolet laser hits the liquid resin, which causes the resin to solidify. The printing stage raises and lowers in order to expose the liquid resin to the laser, and the process repeats until the component is completed.
Powered by specialized software, the Form 1 3D printer is capable of building finely detailed parts and wire harness components. Featuring an auto-rotation, manual maneuverability of parts, and a printing floor view, the Form 1 printer is a truly marvelous piece of equipment.
- Form 2 3D Printer
The second printer that we use here at Meridian is the Form 2 printer. This innovative printer allows us to use up to 20 different materials to build components. This function is easily performed and makes the Form 2 Printer ideal for more complex builds. Once the resin is changed, the Form 2 automatically adjusts to operating correctly while using the new material. This adaptability comes in handy when 3D printing wire harness components that require alternative materials.
Working similarly to the Form 1 printer, the Form 2 functions by using a laser to harden the liquid resin. The benefits of the Form 2 are that it is capable of printing incredibly complex parts and works intuitively with the design software to build components layer by layer. Our Form 2 printer features a large viewing screen to watch the progress of the wire harness components.
- Fuse 1 3D Printer
Rounding off the printers we use for 3D printing wire harness parts is the Fuse 1. The Fuse 1 is a powerful printer designed for industrial 3D printing. Designed to be the ideal combination of speed and accuracy, the Fuse 1 printer enables us to create highly complex parts in record time. This ability means that we are able to produce prototypes and final components in unbelievably fast timeframes. Our Fuse 1 is an incredible asset to our 3D printing wire harness parts.
The Fuse 1 printer operates a little differently than the Form series in that it utilizes SLS printing. SLS printing refers to Selective Laser Sintering, which is a specific process for 3D printing. The SLS process involves coating the printing bed with a powder form and then solidifying the powder with a laser. The printing bed is recoated, and the laser coagulates the next layer of powder on top of the previous one. This process is repeated over and over until the construction is complete.
Once the printing is complete, we remove the excess powder, and the product is ready to combine with the other components.
The Fuse 1 Printer that Meridian uses offers unique features for a 3D printer, such as low waste and industrial-strength materials. The lower waste means that more of the resin is put to use to create the part that we are printing. This feature is both environmentally conscious and economical.
Think Meridian Cable for Your Next Project
As a leader in using innovative technology to build cable assemblies, wire harnesses, and more, Meridian Cable is here to help with your next custom project. Contact us today to utilize our innovation in 3D printing wire harness components.