Faster frame development

May 1, 2007
Automakers and their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers now have a way to achieve faster product development time.

Rochester Hills, MI - Automakers and their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers now have a way to achieve faster product development time. 3-Dimensional Services, located here, and its affiliate Urgent Design & Manufacturing (Lapeer, MI) have teamed to provide build services for full-frame vehicle prototypes, especially those used in pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. The companies have responded to current lean manufacturing procedures whereby the frame and chassis builders are outsourcing prototype fabrication processes.

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The companies offer capabilities that include stamping presses to 7000 tons, hydroforming, laser processing, and a wide array of fabrication equipment in a 20,000-square-foot space for frame building that enables them to complete projects in 12 to 15 weeks.

A typical project just nearing completion encompasses more than 130 individual components, nearly 40 subassemblies, with 12 variations of side rails and 14 different upper and lower cross members (28 total), all within 15 weeks. As part of this project, 5-axis laser systems are used to cut access holes that, due to tolerance requirements, are processed post assembly.

The companies are able to verify production intent, allowing the customer to move to production build sequences without surprises or delays. The frame suppliers use these prototypes to develop full data on vehicle assembly procedures, crash and crumple zone trials, fatigue testing, and life cycle testing.

3-Dimensional Services ( and UDM are combined to offer comprehensive rapid prototyping services; defining rapid prototyping as using advanced processes and manufacturing technologies to reduce part development times by 50 to 60 percent compared to conventional prototype shops.

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