According to what Ford said on Monday, the company is currently testing a 3D-printing technology for large car parts. This new technology could help drivers immensely in their efforts to customize their cars at a lower price. Ford is also stating that what they are working on could have amazing benefits for drivers: from low prices to higher efficiency. It could even prove to be a “breakthrough for vehicle manufacturing”. According to the automobile industry, to make small car parts from scratch is inefficient and more importantly, very expensive. So why create them when you can 3D-print them instead? This new technology could open some huge opportunities for people who may want a personalized car or to experience new designs. The low cost of 3D-printing would make this very easy and accessible for everyone, according to their own wish.
Cheaper and more accessible
Ford insisted on another very interesting fact. That the 3D-printed components are going to be lighter than the usual parts of a car. This would lead to a bigger efficiency of the fuel going through them. According to the company, the 3D printer they are using for tests is the Stratasys Infinite Build 3-D printer. Stratasys have their headquarters in Minnesota. If it manages to do this successfully, Ford is going to become the pioneer company for this kind of technology, especially when it comes to car parts.
This new technology could help Ford greatly, especially in some areas like racing cars, concept vehicles and prototypes. They would require less investment and this would be an advantage to ordinary customers too. Imagine having a certain car in mind and actually being able to have it built for you, exactly the way you dreamt it. Car manufacturers would be able to create completely unique cars right off the production line, in the near future.
Lots of new opportunities
The problem with having a personalized car part made is that it requires special moulds. Those help with the creation of plastic body panel parts like spoilers, for example. However, those moulds are so expensive to make that it is almost crazy to think that someone would pay so much extra cash just for a unique car part. And car manufacturers would never produce them because it would not make sense to spend so much money.
Still, how does 3D-printing actually work? Well, it is not very difficult at all. A computer sends the design specification to the printer. The 3D-printer prints one layer of material at a time, slowly creating a shape. It does not work like a normal, paper printer. Ford also stated that a robot can replace the material which the printer uses, and it would not stop working, sometimes for entire days. Interestingly enough, other car manufacturers announced their plans to begin testing 3D-printing technology. Among them are Germany’s Daimler and France’s Peugeot. Both said that they would begin printing various car parts and develop metal printing processes used in car production. We will see which firm will manage to actually make their plans reality and introduce them on the market.
Image source: here