Automakers Focused on Production at First AM Workshop for Automotive
The inaugural Additive Manufacturing Workshop for Automotive (AMWA) highlighted current and future 3D-printing applications in the auto industry.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is now understood as a viable production option for the aerospace and medical industries, but what about automotive? Until recently, it was relegated to prototyping and small-volume production in this industry, the argument being that 3D printing could never provide the quantities of end-use parts required for the mainstream auto industry.
With advances in technology and better understanding of AM overall, its role for automakers is changing. In January, sister publication Additive Manufacturing hosted the first Additive Manufacturing Workshop for Automotive (AMWA) at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Detroit’s annual event for the auto industry. The event sold out its space in the Cobo Center, welcoming hundreds of automotive and 3D printing professionals.
While at least one speaker addressed 3D printing’s use for mold tooling—a role in which this process has naturally fit for some time—the majority of presentations treated AM as a current or future manufacturing method for end-use parts.
For instance, in a joint presentation with Carbon, Ford detailed its first 3D-printed parts in production. They included an HVAC lever arm for the Focus, auxiliary plugs for the F-150 Raptor and parking-brake brackets for the Mustang GT500. These are not hypothetical or potential 3D-printing applications, but instead real, Ford-qualified polymer parts going into real consumer vehicles.
AM Workshop for Plastics
Join us June 13 in Rosemont, Illinois, for the next Additive Manufacturing Workshop, this time focused entirely on plastics. This half-day workshop is hosted by Additive Manufacturing, MoldMaking Technology and Plastics Technology. Learn more and register.
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