Sunday, May 17, 2015

3D Printed Cars: The Future of Car Manufacturing?

Carmudi sheds light on how the 3D printing is disrupting the automotive industry.

May 13, 2015 - Nearly 30 years ago, Ford bought the third 3D printer ever made. Today, the value of the car industry’s printing work is about $267 million and already, a 3D tech company in China has created a bright orange electric-powered sedan which cost just $1,770 to manufacture. According to venturebeat, the 3D printing in the auto industry is expected to be worth $1.25 billion by 2019, Carmudi sheds light on the different ways in which 3D printing is disrupting the auto industry today.

Faster prototypes

3D printing is already challenging the conventional work practices of car manufacturers.  Time is money and by using 3D printing, car manufacturers can quickly create a tangible prototype of a would-be car model. Moreover, car manufacturers are always looking for ways to cut costs and 3D printing allows for creation of prototypes in a matter of hours. Then, once the prototype is tried and tested, they simply have to update the design and print it out again for further testing.

Parts Testing

Even specific parts of the engine or car can be printed out and tested for faults before manufacturing of actual parts is started. Fiat Chrysler is integrating 3D printing into its manufacturing process by creating clear internal parts, such as axles and pinion carriers, so that monitoring the oil flow is significantly easier. 3D printing helps test out the perfect fit at a much lower cost, before actual manufacturing begins.

Building Cost-Effective Parts

While most mass consumption car manufacturers are using the printing technique for prototypes, racing giants Formula 1 and NASCAR are using 3D printing to produce final components. 3D printed parts are not just cheaper but also much lighter, contributing to an overall faster and more aerodynamic vehicle. Another added advantage is the eco-friendliness due to a lesser amount of waste created.

Experimentation and Innovation

3D printing allows the automotive industry more room for trying out new designs and concepts without having to worry about shelling out too much money or taking up too much time. Custom made parts and accessories are now possible, with fit-for-purpose pieces increasing durability and reliability. 3D printing has paved way for more efficient car production. Moreover, 3D printed cars have a much lesser impact on the earth compared to their factory built counterparts.

Soon enough, we’ll be able to customize our cars down to the number of seats, have it sent to print at the nearest factory, and pay lesser than we do now.

* Carmudi was founded in 2013 and is currently available in 20 countries worldwide.

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