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3D Printing for Automotive and Transportation Parts: Real-Life Applications

With the recent advancements in 3D printing, it’s no surprise that more and more industries are utilising this technology to create new products. The technology has evolved to the point where 3D printing services are now able to produce high-quality parts for cars and other modes of transportation. This evolution in 3D printing means that companies can now prototype their designs at a fraction of the cost while contributing to better overall products.

Benefits of 3D Printing for the Automotive Sector

You’ve probably heard of the advantages of 3D printing and with its promising benefits, additive manufacturing is ultimately changing the way we create automotive and transportation parts. Now, engineers are able to quickly design and produce prototypes that would otherwise take months to manufacture. 3D printing can not only be employed to demonstrate designs of new vehicles in the proof-of-concept phase but will also help automakers accommodate the target market’s needs with more customised designs.

With access to lighter components like tires and suspension system parts, 3D printing can reduce the overall weight and increase the strength of today’s modern vehicles. For classic cars that have been out of production, 3D printing also makes it possible to create replacement parts to continue its legacy.

Amazing Real-Life Applications

1. Producing tools, jigs and fixtures

Specific jigs and fixtures are required in order to machine a large number of components. Jigs, for instance, are integral to any process in automotive manufacturing as they provide repeatability, accuracy and interchangeability.

3D printing comes in handy here to fabricate manufacturing tools while exploring possibilities on the geometry of end-use parts. In fact, this technology is giving rise to new business models as automotive companies shift away from traditional manufacturing methods.                             

Volkswagen Autoeuropa is one example of a company that previously relied on external suppliers for its tools, jigs and fixtures. Now, the facility 3D prints manufacturing aids that are used daily on the assembly line, maximising production efficiency. This new and improved process cuts the cost of manufacturing tools by 90% – with lead time reduced to just a few days.

2. Accelerating production of current vehicles

Rolls-Royce, for instance, introduced 3D printed components in its Extended Ghost mode using both plastic and metal 3D printing technologies. Apart from producing lighter parts with a higher strength-to-weight ratio than ever before possible, 3D printing can also reduce fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles while also reducing CO2 emissions into our environment.

3. Stepping into the future of electric vehicles

Just earlier this year, Porsche produced its first complete housing for an electric drive produced using the additive laser fusion process. As numerous parts can be integrated, 3D printing has enabled this engine-gearbox unit to be more compact, ultimately reducing the assembly work by up to 40 work steps. Due to the lightweight construction made possible by 3D printing, the weight of the housing was greatly reduced by as much as 40%.

4. Extending to more forms of transportation

Beyond cars, 3D printing is also revolutionising an industry that never saw a shortage of spare parts. 3D printing is the key to ensuring that train operators have the parts they need for their trains, so no matter how old or unique a part might be.

Drive Change with Additive3D Asia Today

As a Total Solution Provider for Additive Manufacturing since 2014, we know firsthand how much time can be saved by using this technology for prototyping or even as an alternative to traditional manufacturing methods. And it’s not just limited to automotive and transportation industrial parts.

With Additive3D Asia, our 3D printing services are now easily accessible industries as diverse as medical and dental technology, aerospace, engineering, construction and architecture to name just a few. Get in touch with us for more information today.

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