Latest automotive news: Ford is using 3D printed brakes!
The automotive industry is one of the industries that makes the most of Additive Manufacturing. We already talked about 3D printed tires and other functional components, used, for instance, by Bugatti. It is not surprising that also Ford is moving forward with 3D printing. How do they take advantage of this cutting-edge technology? Let’s find out!
Why is AM so beneficial for the automotive industry?
First of all, 3D printing is the best solution to develop lightweight structures. 3D printing gives you absolutely new design freedom, you can access the insides of your parts and edit them in a necessary way, for example with lattices. The technology is no longer the limit for your design, 3D printing redefines the way we think of designing new parts.
Lightweight parts also lead to less material wastage and that brings the production costs down. It is more economical and improves your manufacturing process. 3D printing also eliminates a lot of tools, normally needed to assemble parts. With 3D printing, you can simply design interlocking parts and have them ready to use straight out the 3D printer.
Secondly, Additive Manufacturing means new materials, which can also reduce the weight of your mechanical parts. Additionally, it also brings new production possibilities as the materials have new properties. For instance, you can use flexible PEBA, heat-resistant Nylon PA12 or robust Titanium 6AI-4V. 3D printing is giving you endless possibilities. You can see how beneficial AM is, and so did Ford. But how exactly did they use it?
Is it the first time for Ford and 3D printing?
No, it is not. Ford, as one of the leaders in the automotive industry, couldn’t just sit there and wait for their competitors to start benefiting from the possibilities Additive Manufacturing gives. They actually saw the potential of 3D printing from the very beginning, they purchased the third 3D printer ever made back in 1988. 30 years later turns out it was a great idea- now Ford owns 90 3D printers and is able to save $2 million a year thanks to 3D technologies.
The automotive giant has already used 3D printing at the prototyping stage and to test new components. It was a crucial part of 2019 Ranger production, where Additive Manufacturing technologies played the key role. Some 3D printed parts of Ford’s cars can even be seen with a naked eye as they are implemented in the interior design of F-150 Raptor.
Ford’s last development: 3D printed brakes
It is a well-known fact that 3D printing is a ground-breaking technology. Ford has seen that a long time ago and has been making the most of it. Soon they will launch their latest car: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. What is so special about this car? It’s the 3D printed brakes. They are strong, robust and meet exactly Ford’s manufacturing requirements.
With 3D printing, Ford has improved their production by miles. 3D printing can let them save at least $2 million per year! Additive Manufacturing allows for such new design solutions that Ford has opened its own 3D printing production: the Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan with 23 3D printers there. And their involvement with AM technologies doesn’t stop there, they also work with 10 3D printing manufacturers to develop future car components.
Ford doesn’t stop with just redesigning their mechanical and interior parts. They also test and experiment with new materials, among which are Nylon, sand, and carbon. 3D printing allows Ford to challenge themselves and question how each part of the car can be improved. 3D printing is truly changing and revolutionizing automotive manufacturing.
What is the future of 3D printing in the automotive industry?
It is definitely bright. Additive Manufacturing improves the way we produce car parts. With 3D printing, we can make lightweight components, which brings the production costs down, eliminates time-consuming tooling and on top of all of that, it lets the engineers redesign the whole manufacturing process.
As you see, even Ford is experimenting with 3D technologies and uses Nylon plastic, which you can also access with our 3D printing service. Is it time for you to improve your production with Additive Manufacturing? Don’t wait any longer and contact our Design Studio or simply upload your 3D models to our online 3D printing service.
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