Notable advances in 3D printing or Additive manufacturing (AM) over the past years have transformed the ways in which products are designed, developed, manufactured and distributed.
Concretely, in the automotive industry, these advances have opened doors for newer designs; cleaner, lighter, and safer products; shorter lead times; and lower costs. While originally AM was used only for prototyping, nowadays what a not too distant future holds for AM is more than simply prototyping.
The role of AM on automotive industry
As a source of product innovation
AM can produce components with lower design restrictions than traditional process due to its flexibility, this is useful because it makes possible the manufacturing of personalized objects allowing the addition of improvements. Such as, minimizing weight through lattice structures or the possibility or manufacturing complex geometries that are not possible through traditional processes. Furthermore, printing materials with individual properties, like the conductivity or the variable force it seems to be around the corner.
As a supply chain transformation
AM cuts down the lead time, by removing the direct production of final parts, therefore improve the response capability.
Furthermore, AM only uses the material that is necessary to produce a component so it helps to reduce inventory All these capabilities combined could change the established automobilists business models, by performing products personalized depending on costumers needs.
Too futuristic? We Don’t think so.
While it is true that nowadays, not all the components in a car can be performed using AM, today some parts as cooling vents, bumpers or VW gear shits are already made using AM. The number of additively manufactured components is increasing.
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