Is 3D printing reinventing the automotive assembly line? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 78)

Henry Ford was the first to envision a streamlined way of bringing quality automobiles to market. The idea behind his revolutionary vision was that technology enabled his workers to optimize their activities. That philosophy is still alive and well in the automotive industry and now, thanks to 3D printing, it’s experiencing a renewed sense of discovery. Currently, companies like Audi and GM are employing 3D printing to help speed up the design and prototyping cycle cutting lead times by more than 50% and saving over $300K on tooling. The bravest (or those with the most resources) are pushing 3D printing towards new applications and wild concepts for the cars of the future.

General Motors Saves $300,000 By Switching To 3D Printed Tooling

Zane Meike holds sample 3D printed tool at the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan. Photo by Michael Wayland/Automotive News

The Lansing Delta Township assembly plant of American multinational vehicle manufacturer General Motors has reported an expected cost saving of over $300,000 since it acquired a 3D printer three years ago. Driving forward its 3D printing efforts, the plant eventually expects to create annual cost savings in the millions of dollars.

Read the full article here.

Shanghai Commits To Divergent 3D Printed Electric Vehicle Production

The Divergent 3D node-based additive manufacturing technology, used to make the Blade supercar, is to be the driver of a new electric vehicle (EV) production plant in Shanghai.

“The EV market in China is at an inflection point, with unparalleled growth in demand and government policy stimulus,” says Eric Ho King-fung, chairman of We Solutions in an article for the South China Morning Post.

Check out the rest of the article here.

MIT’s 3D-printed inflatables could shape the interiors of cars in the future

Car interiors could morph into different configurations at the flick of a switch, using 3D-printed inflatable structures developed by researchers at the MIT. The Self-Assembly Lab at MIT worked with BMW on the project, called Liquid Printed Pneumatics. The result is a stretchy, inflatable silicone prototype that can take on a number of different shapes depending on the level of air pressure inside. If turned into a car seat, it could quickly be tuned to different positions, or levels of springiness depending on user preference.

Read the rest at Dezeen.

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New design thinking is helping AM reach new heights (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 75)

AM is a fantastic piece of technology, but sometimes it can only go as far as the design behind it. That’s why, following the rise and promise of 3D printing techniques, new ways of designing by means of CAD and reasoning have been born, and they help boost the capabilities of AM in a number of ways. Take General Motors for example: through a technique called generative design, they are able to procedurally build the volume of a part to better address its functions and operational stresses, while at the same time saving precious weight. In other cases, new materials and design possibilities come together to enable unprecedented applications like, for example, a customized inflatable for future car interiors. With this kind of thinking, we start to see how this new wave of design methodologies is enabling AM processes to actually work. The 3D printed bridges and houses that we often hear about wouldn’t be much of a revolution by 3D printing alone, if not for a smart and optimized design that can make it work and excel.

GM and Autodesk Using Additive Manufacturing for Lighter Vehicles

GM is using Autodesk’s generative design technology and additive manufacturing to fabricate lighter automotive parts; this seat bracket is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its predecessor. […] It uses cloud computing and AI-based algorithms to rapidly explore multiple permutations of a part design; it can generate hundreds of high-performance, often organic-looking geometric design options based on goals and parameters set by the user.

Read the full article here.

MIT’s 3D-printed inflatables could shape the interiors of cars in the future

Car interiors could morph into different configurations at the flick of a switch, using 3D-printed inflatable structures developed by researchers at the MIT. The Self-Assembly Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) worked with BMW on the project, called Liquid Printed Pneumatics. The German auto brand wanted to see how the lab’s experimental engineering techniques could help it realize some of the shapeshifting features imagined in its futuristic concept cars.

Keep reading at Dezeen.

Additive Construction: From the 3D-Printed House to the 3D-Printed High-Rise

AM has begun to affect nearly every industry, from healthcare to aerospace, making it possible to create unique geometries with unique properties. One industry where 3D printing’s impact is at an even more nascent stage in construction. There are firms and research groups exploring the use of 3D printing as a building technology, but additive construction is still so young that its exact purpose and benefits remain speculative and unclear. Why, other than for sheer novelty, squeeze concrete out of a nozzle to fabricate a building when you can rely on traditional methods?

Read the full article here.

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