Stratasys, Eckhart Enter Three-Year Collaboration Agreement

Stratasys and Eckhart Inc. announced a three-year collaboration agreement to advance the adoption of 3D printing for factory tooling in North America.


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Stratasys and Eckhart Inc. announced a three-year collaboration agreement to advance the adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) for factory tooling in North America. Eckhart builds tools to assist and automate the assembly process for industries such as automotive, aerospace, heavy construction, medical and others. The company says that the tooling industry is ripe for changes with the introduction of additive manufacturing technologies to help redesign factory tools.

“At Eckhart, we believe that with additive manufacturing, there is a real opportunity to reinvent how industrial tools are designed, manufactured and ultimately used by customers,” says Eckhart President and CEO Andy Storm.

The company outlines three major ways in which additive processes can help the tooling industry:

  • Lightweighting and Ergonomics:A primary strength of AM is its ability to produce organically shaped parts that are lighter than conventional designs produced in metal, while still being strong.
  • Line-of-Sight Improvement:Users can design voids in a tool. By reducing unneeded material, line of sight is improved, and users can see more of the assembly operation.
  • Simplified Build Structure:By redesigning an assembly of numerous parts into a single part and 3D printing it, designers can reduce the part count, simplifying both the build structure and the bill of materials for manufacture.

“Our intent is to completely replace existing metal tools with 3D-printed equivalents,” Mr. Storm says. “The potential for innovation in weight savings, simplified bills of material and enhanced operator visibility is unprecedented.”

“We’re looking forward to working closely with Eckhart to help redesign a new generation of factory tools,” says Stratasys Senior Vice President of Sales, North America, Patrick Carey.

Eckhart’s 3D-printing laboratory is located in its recently opened Advanced Technology Center in Warren, Michigan. The lab includes printers using the fused deposition modeling process. The laboratory has Fortus 450mc, F370, and Fortus 250mc 3D printers from Stratasys.

In addition to accelerating the adoption of 3D printing, the partnership is aimed to leverage both companies’ expertise in adjacent markets to promote the adoption of Industry 4.0 and the use of micro sensors in 3D-printed tools, integrating advanced diagnostics that will enable the smart factories of the future.

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