The automotive sector has been one of the great tractors of additive manufacturing over the years, being pioneers in the use of rapid prototyping in the different stages of its product development process, and constituting today the third industry in the use of 3D printing in its production processes or processes.
In this post we show you the different examples of applications of additive manufacturing in this sector and we will analyze the reasons for your choice. Read!
Due to their experience, the drivers of use are very diverse, and their use is limited mainly by the limitation of the technology to produce large series, as required by the actors in the sector.
The applications cover prototyping, the manufacture of tools, molds, custom tools or models, and is already used in final part applications for weight lightening and customization, especially in high-end vehicles, special vehicles or formula 1.
For example, customers of the BMW MINI brand can design their own custom cars online, digital files are sent to the production plant, where they are manufactured using 3D printing, laser cutting and other advanced technologies.
Examples of automotive use cases. Image: BMW
Although all the major car manufacturers have already done so, BMW was one of the pioneers in establishing its own Competence Center (3D Printing Campus) to explore the benefits of implementing additive manufacturing and train its engineers and technicians in the technology, and they are already employing it for the manufacture of components of cooling and heating systems to optimize their performance. (Source: BMW/Mini)
Audi Engine Water Collectors Success Story
An example of an application of metal additive manufacturing is at AUDI, which uses 3D printed engine water collector components in an aluminium alloy for weight lightening and efficiency improvement.
Mercedes-Benz also uses metal additive manufacturing for the production of engine manifolds in its range of heavy-duty vehicles.
Finally, it should be noted that all major manufacturers are exploring initiatives for printing spare parts on demand. Logistics, overproduction and fixed asset costs can offset a higher unit cost of spare parts, and with the evolution of additive technologies towards higher productivity and actionable materials, it is opening the door to greater use of additive manufacturing in the automotive sector, and in particular, in the manufacture of spare parts.