3D printing ESD-safe test fixtures reduce labor cost and increase geometrical freedom for Swedish Columbia Elektronik.
Columbia Elektronik AB manufactures complete test fixturing solutions for the Nordic electronics industry. Over the past few years, they have seen a steady increase in demand for ESD-safe materials. This is mainly due to the changing manufacturing landscape, but also the rise in the need for more complex electronics. Like many other companies, Columbia Elektronik is looking for reduced labor hours, reduced costs, and the ability to continuously improve its fixtures and other components.
Test snap-fit fixtures hold electronic components in place during testing. Before, the team would either machine these fixtures inhouse, or outsource the production of 3D printed ESD-safe parts. Neither was a perfect solution. Machining the parts inhouse limited geometric freedom and used internal machinist time, while third-party 3D printed ESD-safe parts had poor surface quality and dimensional accuracy.
Columbia Elektronik now has the opportunity to use the new material, Markforged Onyx ESD. This will allow them to seamlessly manufacture complex parts inhouse with minimum operator input.
The company was also able to save customers both time and effort when using their product by improving functionality enabled by the freedom of additive manufacturing. Columbia Elektronik designed the 3D printed Onyx ESD fixtures in one piece instead of two, eliminating the need for additional assembly time or tooling. The team was also impressed by the cost reduction and the sleek surface finish of the fixture parts, straight off the print bed.
“Now with Onyx ESD, we will be able to print high-strength ESD-safe parts on demand that are customer ready”, says Christer Lang, Mechanical Designer at Columbia Elektronik. “With Markforged Onyx ESD, engineers and designers at Columbia Elektronik will finally have the tools they need to meet rising demands in their industry.”