Management of fixtures will be easier

If you no longer consider your fixtures and other manufacturing tools as assets and instead, think of them as expenses, and disposable, then the management of your fixtures becomes a whole lot easier. How so?  As assets, fixtures are stored between uses, they remain in inventory until the product line is retired or they are worn beyond repair. With the time, cost and effort of manufacturing fixtures through conventional methods, they are too valuable to be discarded as a disposable item.

This approach carries many indirect costs. There is cost for the shelf space (warehousing expense); cost to manage and track the inventory; and cost to locate a fixture when needed. For sporadically used tools, these costs can be quite significant.


The opposite can be true with 3d printed fixtures. Often, it takes more time and cost to inventory the fixtures than it does to remake them. So, companies adopt a management approach called digital warehousing where only the digital file is carried in inventory. It may seem unthinkable to scrap a perfectly good manufacturing fixture, but for those with infrequent use, this approach reduces cost and labour.  A fixture can quickly and simply be remade when it is needed. When its job is done, send it off with the scrap material for recycling. Then digitally warehouse its design between uses. This print-on-demand approach is also handy when a replacement is needed for a broken manufacturing fixture or duplicates are needed for increased production to meet an unexpected surge in sales.