The Impact of 3D Printing on the Automotive Industry


The impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry has been coming on for several years. For more than a decade, engineers and technicians have been using it to improve the quality of their work. In fact, 3D printing has become a critical component of the entire process, allowing car manufacturers and repair personnel to use digital images of working parts to create exact reproductions that can then be used to manufacture parts. The impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry has been seen in applications ranging from laminating parts to metalworking and everything in between. Online 3D printing stores and pages have provided customers with doorstep delivery facility.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

3D prints are more durable and accurate than ever before. Metalworking processes can now be made more accurate through the use of a 3D printer. Modern technology now uses the power of computer-aided design (CAD) software to carry out these processes precisely and quickly. This means that car manufacturers and repair personnel can work on projects with complete accuracy, allowing for longer runs and, in turn, higher quality parts that will last longer.

Advantage of CAD

Replacing forged components with CAD-based designs also brings about the impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry. The printing out of a CAD file is, in fact, the main reason that car parts need to be fabricated in the first place. The parts are formed on a computer-generated model, which means that they can be any shape or size, and they can be made out of almost any material. 3D printing also allows for the 3D model to be tested under various conditions in other software on your PC.

Easy Duplication

This kind of innovation brings about another wave of positive impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry: the ability to produce more exact duplicates of specific parts. For instance, rather than having to make dozens of identical components to replace one damaged component, car companies can make hundreds of identical ones, saving considerable money and time. As a result, the average car maker can make millions of dollars more off of each car they own simply by replacing worn out parts with identical copies made by another company.

Multiple Ways Of Manufacturing

The final step in the process of this kind of impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry relates to the way that the design is created. Most car companies use a variety of different methods for constructing a part. In general, most use a CNC machine to cut out the desired piece of material, mould it, and then put it into the vehicle. Some use traditional lathes and saws, while others opt instead for an additive manufacturing process. What additive manufacturing provides is a way to increase the speed and quality of these parts, allowing car manufacturers to provide vehicles that are virtually repair-free.

The Consumer Aspect

Another way for examining the impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry is to examine the impact it has on the consumer. After all, what the average car buyer expects to find when they drive a new car off of the lot is typically the same thing that the average consumer finds when they go to their local car showroom. The car manufacturers are well aware of this fact, and have taken steps to ensure that consumers are satisfied with the products that they purchase.

Cost Reduction

The final step to examining the impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry is to examine the impact it has on the cost of material. The increased cost of materials is one of the biggest concerns of consumers today. While it is true that consumers can expect to pay more for some materials due to technological efficiencies, the general rule of thumb is that 3D printed parts will cost less than their stamped or machined counterparts. Furthermore, the manufacturing process often reduces material costs by using materials such as solid rubber or high strength aluminium.

Greener Environment

The last and most important element to examine when studying the impact of 3D printing on the automotive industry is the effect it has on the environment. Automotive 3D printing usually involves producing very large objects which create significant amounts of waste. In most cases, the waste created by automotive 3D printing does not pose a significant environmental risk. However, it is important for anyone considering the use of this technology to consider the possibility of waste disposal and recycling.

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