Monday, 19 July 2021

3D Printing & Auto Industry

Automobile industry has been an early industrial adopter of 3D printing. Over the span of a
decade, the Automobile industry has witnessed 3D printing technology transform from a
useful alternative to an indispensable tool. Initially, focused on making prototypes, 3D
printing now is responsible for creating complex parts, speeding up tooling cycles,
enhancing measurement & testing, while also providing customized solutions.

Miniature 3D printed designs of cars are easy to test. With advances in 3D printing &
compatible materials, designers can test various forms & practical functions. This helps in
finalizing optimum design ideas faster, as life size designs of parts & models can be printed
immediately upon approval.

Rapid tooling is growing at an enormous pace within the industry. 3D printing is responsible
for shrinking the tooling process & making it easier to develop task specific tools. Designing
custom tools & 3D printing them saves time, material cost & machine time, making it
profitable for automakers in every way.

Customization for select vehicle models can be an expensive affair for automakers. From the
interior of a car to the essential functional parts, customizing & mass-producing custom
parts in low volume proves costly. Using 3D printing, customized parts can be easily
produced, while lowering cost of customization to OEMs & the end user alike. This is
especially true for EMVs, which require lightweight & specially designed parts to be
produced in low quantity.

Measuring & validating accuracy of parts & fixtures, on demand, is now possible thanks to
3D printing. Using FDM technology, designers can print special tools that last longer & are
lighter as well as mobile. This makes it easy to carry them to any point in the assembly line.
Using rubber like materials also helps avoid scratches & other type of damage on end parts,
making measurement & validation cheaper, faster & more efficient.

Using FDM, SLS or SLM technologies for 3D printing, automakers can test various iterations
of a model rapidly. This also extends to the ability of being able to use multiple materials in
making one model & testing the outcome right away. This helps validate complex part
designs & make designers aware of parts that may not be functional in the real world as

With 3D printing making it easier to design new models, make complex parts with ease, the
automobile industry is on its way to a complete revolution. Shorter lead times in design,
fabrication, testing & validation are helping the industry cater to the varied consumer &
environment needs with ease.

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