3D PRINTING IN THE AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR
The automotive industry is rapidly expanding into additive manufacturing in order to boost vehicle performance. By using innovative materials, manufacturers are able to design ever more lightweight, complex and innovative parts. The wide selection of 3D printing materials offers savings while offering the ability to produce parts with a completely redesigned design. Frequently lighter than parts from traditional production processes, 3D printed parts open up a whole new field of possibilities that aficionados of motorsports in particular could hardly ever have dreamt of!
Operators in the automotive industry begin the race towards 3D!
Luxury vehicle manufacturers are exploiting 3D printing to experiment in new concept cars with ever more ingenious and complex design. But they are not alone – the whole automotive industry is on the starting grid! In 2018, BMW produced 1 million parts using 3D printing. Volkswagen commissioned 90 3D printers in 2018 with the objective of printing between 50,000 and 100,000 functional parts the size of a football each year. The US giant Ford has also invested over €45 million in establishing a dedicated 3D printing site. Car manufacturers such as Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Toyota Motorsport and Hyundai are not being left behind, also designing more and more production parts to improve productivity, reduce design costs and improve both the speed performance and energy efficiency of their vehicles.
The most common 3D applications in the automotive sector
- Engine parts (air intake manifolds, brake calipers)
- Finished parts (rear light lenses, wheel rims)
- Prototypes, tools and accessories (socket covers, hooks, safety tools)