One of the early adopters of 3D printing technology has been the automotive industry. Economic and environmental concerns such as reduction of CO2 emissions, sustainable energy efficiency, cost reduction and the demand for continuous innovation have been major factors contributing to this unprecedented industry adoption of 3D printing. Formula 1 racing teams have been using 3D printing for prototyping, testing and finally, creating custom car parts.
In order to out-innovate competitors and reduce costs, automotive companies are not only using 3D printing for prototyping applications but also for developing their manufacturing process of finished parts and for the production of spare parts. 3D printing has transformed the way automobiles are designed, developed and manufactured.
BENEFITS OF 3D PRINTING
1. FOSTERS DESIGN INNOVATION
3D printing has empowered automotive companies to make rapid prototypes of everything right from concept models to functional parts in the pre-manufacturing stage in record turnaround time. These prototypes give a real look and feel to the part and allows companies to take feedback from clients and validate the design.
2. Low Turnaround Time
Prototyping parts and validating the design in the pre-manufacturing stage reduces the turnaround time across all subsequent stages of manufacturing adding great value to the business by reducing the time-to-market and bringing a superior product to the market.
3. SPARE PART PRODUCTION
Although a few companies manufacture spare parts in India, most automobile companies still have to import spare parts making them expensive. 3D printing has the potential to make these parts on demand which also results in lower inventory costs.
4. LOWER COSTS
The time, resources and materials saved in the production stages all contribute to reducing the overall cost allowing companies to transfer some of the cost reduction to the end user.
5. ADDED FLEXIBILITY
Automotive companies that use 3D printing technology have been empowered to try multiple iterations and options of models and parts right from the development stage. This gives them the agility to design efficient and optimum automobile parts and make quick changes as per market requirements.
- 1. Audi is increasingly using polymer 3D printing in automotive production - https://www.3ders.org/articles/20190410-audi-is-increasingly-using-polymer-3d-printing-in-automotive-production.html
- 2. Bugatti 3D prints its famous Type 35 model - https://www.3ders.org/articles/20190312-bugatti-unveils-baby-ii-a-30k-ev-with-3d-printed-type-35-body.html
- 3. Ford makes history with largest metal 3D printed automotive part - https://www.3ders.org/articles/20190130-ford-made-history-with-largest-metal-3d-printed-automotive-part-for-ken-blocks-hoonitruck.html
- 4. Betatype Case Study Illustrates Cost and Time Savings of Using 3D Printing to Fabricate Automotive Components - https://3dprint.com/222506/betatype-automotive-case-study/
- 5. Producing complex prototype models of headlights for electric Supercar - https://www.3t-am.com/case-studies/lighting-way