We are witnessing massive shifts in trends for various fields. The automotive industry is now using additive manufacturing (AM). For this reason, automotive engineers are integrating 3D printing into the production process. 3D printing is used to make automotive prototypes and other parts and other parts used in assembly plants. Soon, assembly plants will entirely depend on 3D printing to produce parts. The benefits associated with 3D printing favour its use but before we dive into that, let us first look at the history of 3D printing.
The History of 3D Printing
Surprisingly, 3D printing dated back to 1984 where it was first used to develop prototypes. In 2013, the first-ever 3D printed vehicle was invented. The car had three wheels and a hybrid engine capable of carrying up to 1,200lbs. The man behind this invention Jim Kor named the car Urbee.
Factors contributing to the increased use of 3D printing in the automotive industry
We all want to profit, and with that comes the need to optimize your production process to ensure that it is cost-efficient. This way, you will be reducing the cost of production and increasing your profits margin. 3D printing works like a charm, so if you are still not convinced buckle up.
The following are some of the reasons why 3D printing is used.
Some of the materials used to make automobiles are expensive, and to ensure that your process is cost-effective, there should be minimal wastages. 3D printing uses additive manufacturing (AM) which reduces the amount of waste produced. Compared to other fabrication methods, 3D printing is much more economical. CNC machining produces a lot of waste due to the subtractive nature of the process.
3D printing allows customization where clients can now bring their customized design. Since 3D printers used digital designs, iteration is easy, making custom designing easy. Another way to look at this is that the design is flexible. Some parts are hard to find, with a 3D printer, you can produce rare parts fast and easy since all you need is a digital print of the part.
Advantages of 3D printing in the Automotive industry
3D printing allows innovation of designs where you can easily visualize a model of car and develop a prototype or the final car itself. You can create your automotive prototype and request a manufacturer to assemble the car. Let your imagination run wild; you have in your hands the power to create what is in your mind.
Manufactures who own 3D printers reduce the cost of production by a large margin. First, you cut down on logistics since parts are locally produced. Automotive prototypes are much cheaper as compared to using traditional methods of production. With less or no waste production, the process of assembly becomes cost-effective.
When manufacturing, you are looking to satisfy the needs of your customers. Manufacturers can now respond quickly to customer feedback; after all, it is all about customer satisfaction. 3D printers make car assembly much simpler since you have everything you need at your disposal.
3D printing is reshaping the automotive industry. The current market has automobiles with designs you couldn’t think about back in the 90s. Integrating 3D printing in our industries has helped us leap giant steps in technological advancements.