Applications of 3D Printing in the Automotive Industry

Auto Tech Outlook | Tuesday, April 06, 2021

3D printing is finding applications in automotive prototyping, custom and personalized part manufacturing, and spare parts for vehicles.

FREMONT, CA: 3D manufacturing is about 40 years old technology with emerging applications in medical, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, automotive, fashion, electronics, logistics, food & beverage, and many others. The 3D printing technology constructs a three-dimensional object with the assistance of a computer-aided design model. In this technology, the material is added to form an object and hence called additive manufacturing. 3D printing is gaining momentum in the automotive industry. Many automotive firms and part manufacturers are investing in this technology. In the current scenario, 3D printing is mainly leveraged for prototyping applications in the automotive industry. Read on to know more.

• Prototyping

The 3D printer in the automotive industry is implemented in prototyping applications. 3D printing technology is quickly replacing conventional prototyping methods. The use of 3D printing technology in prototyping has resu


lted in time-saving for the new design. Currently, 20-30 percent of the automotive manufacturers are using 3D manufacturing technology in prototype building.

• Custom Parts

Numeric control manufacturing operations are best suited for mass production applications due to its cost of customizing automotive parts compared to standard parts. However, 3D printing can be used effectively to create custom automotive parts. With the help of 3D printing technology, automotive parts can be personalized as per customer preference might accelerate customers' experience. For vintage vehicles and luxury cars, several of the spares can be printed with 3D printing technology.

• Complex Parts and Tools

When producing complex automotive parts and tools, 3D manufacturing has a benefit over conventional manufacturing technology. 3D manufacturing can generate highly complex parts, which are hard to produce by traditional manufacturing technology. Besides, automotive OEMs are spending a considerable amount on maintaining an inventory of these complex parts and tools, which resulted in accelerated production costs. Therefore, several automotive OEMs are looking towards 3D printing technologies to produce parts and tools on-demand, resulting in lower inventory.

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