From RedEye On Demand
The prime concerns of manufacturing engineers are productivity and quality. The daily challenge is to ensure maximum production quantity while adhering to the specified quality standards. Jigs & fixtures are essential tools to achieve these aims.
Although they are essential and abundant, jigs & fixtures (collectively referred to as "fixtures") are virtually transparent when production is running smoothly. Few people in a company give fixtures any thought until there is a quality problem or production delay. When a problem does arise, their critical role becomes obvious, and manufacturing engineering scrambles to devise a quick fix to keep production rolling. However, new fixtures can take weeks to produce, so manufacturing engineering may be forced to put a bandage on the problem and hope for the best.
For a relatively simple fixture, the lead time can be hours, but making moderately complex designs can take two to four weeks. Typically, fixtures are made of plastic or metal and are produced by a machining or fabricating process. For these manufacturing methods, time and cost increase as the fixture becomes more complex.
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