3D printing in automotive industry

The 3D printing technology has given rise to spectacular achievements in the automotive industry, starting from the possibility of fast prototyping, through a more and more widespread production of final car parts, and ending with 3D manufacturing of nearly the whole cars.

Nobody should be surprised with a growing interest in 3D printing on the part of large concerns, such as Mitsubishi Chemical or BASF, which see a serious and profitable business in using FDM printing technology in the automotive sector.

The use of 3D printers by car manufacturers

The automotive sector has liked 3D printing and has been using its opportunities on a daily basis more and more often. Designers and engineers open to innovation implement bold ideas with the use of the technology, thus, extending the pallet of engineering benefits and optimising the manufacturing processes.

3D printing has great power and enables the achievement of effects which would not be possible with the use of the traditional manufacturing methods. Car components produced with the FDM technology are lighter, which results in a reduction of the vehicle weight, better performance and lower energy consumption.
Radosław Wróbel, 3D Printing Application Engineer at 3DGence

1. 3D printed end-use parts

The times when the main use of 3D printing technology in the automotive industry was fast prototyping have long gone now. The report of the SmartTech Publishing research company on the automotive sector shows that 3D printing is more and more often used in manufacturing the final car parts. The analysts expect that by 2029 the 3D printing market in that narrow sector will generate as much as USD 9 billion revenue. The leaders in using the additive technology to manufacture final car parts is – as reports SmartTech – Volkswagen, and the second position is occupied by BMW and Ford.

2. High-performance materials in producing cars

One of the currently most popular and most frequently used 3D printing technology in the automotive sector is FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication). Its advantage is the possibility to use many different materials, the properties of which are similar to plastics. With the use of a 3D printer the needed parts and details may be created, which not only enables companies to keep production continuity, which is very important nowadays, but also become independent of external suppliers and streamline the production processes.

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The established car manufacturers apply 3D printing at their production plants on a large scale. In Poland, our professional printers are wildly used at large car factories, including in the production of engine assembly accessories and metal sheet positioning elements – feeler gauges made of flexible materials which do not damage the car body.
Radosław Wróbel, 3D Printing Application Engineer at 3DGence

Examples of using 3D printers in automotive

1. Fire-trucks manufacturer use industrial 3D printer

The company ofBocar, which deals with the manufacturing of fire service vehicles, uses the printer to create sub-assembly prototypes from plastics. In cooperation with 3DGence, it has prepared a model of an extruded collector at 1:1 scale. Thanks to the professional 3DGence INDUSTRY F340 printer the process of the element creation has been shortened for several months. The ready cast eliminates the necessity of manual welding of elbows, pipes and flanges. Thanks to that hydraulic systems are more accurate and their failure rate is reduced.

2. Building racing car with the use 3D printing technology

Polish students also contribute to the development of the automotive industry, including electromobility. Their latest electric racing car AGH Racing – RTE 2.0 “LEM” presented to the world on 11 July 2019 consists of 3D printed elements.

The newest engineering solutions available on the market, including 3D printing, were applied in constructing the racing car. Among other things, the battery packs casing was printed from an inflammable material on a 3DGence INDUSTRY F340 device. Additionally, the use of that 3D printer enabled the creation of other parts and models, including aerodynamic elements dies, thanks to which we were able to independently prepare the components needed for the racing car.

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Manufacturers march towards 3D printing

Dynamic development of 3D printing sector

An evidence that 3D printing is at the stage of dynamic development is also a growing interest in it on the part of large and established concerns, which have formerly dealt with completely different subjects. The companies have commenced to cooperate with the manufacturers of printers and filaments and have been improving solutions, both as regards operating materials and software. They focus mainly on introducing 3D printing in the aviation and automotive industries.

The 3D printing market has been consolidating and maturing. We have gone past the stage when there were more 3D printers manufacturers than their users. Only the best have remained on the market, those who are capable to deliver devices at adequate prices, and thanks to that new projects may be actually performed. It is worth to avail of the changes in the 3D printing market already today and outdistance the competitors thanks to the opportunities provided by the technology. Advanced and industry tailored 3D printer such as 3DGence INDUSTRY F420 has now come within the reach of any manufacturer. This is the effect of a maturing and consolidating market.

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3D printing can help you with many many different applications through many materials. 

If you have no idea what 3D printer will be proper for your project, you can consult it with our 3D printing engineers: [email protected]


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3D Printing in Automotive Industry