In the span of a decade, 3D printers have moved from an optional piece of equipment for producing relatively simple prototypes to an absolute necessity - one that is transforming the automotive industry in fundamental ways.
Now fixtures in automotive design studios, factory assembly lines and test tracks, 3D printers are creating complex parts, speeding up tooling cycles, enhancing measurement and testing, and providing customization solutions across all aspects of the vehicle development process.
The automotive sector has long been one of the most fast-paced and complex industries.
But the industry arguably has never faced more challenges - or very promising opportunities - as it does today.
A host of obstacles, from the demand for vehicle electrification to diverse consumer preferences, to tighter environmental regulations, all have contributed to tightened vehicle production schedules and shortened vehicle life cycles.
These pressures directly affect every OEM and every supplier throughout the value chain.
They require creative approaches to speed up the design process, increase quality and cut costs - all at the same time.
3D printing technology is proving vital in the design studio and factory floor alike.
As a cost-effective solution for improving measurement, functional testing, vehicle customization, optimized design and rapid tooling, adopting and optimizing 3D printing
is critical for engineers, plant workers and designers of all kinds, wanting to stay ahead of the competitive field.
And with new applications being discovered, tested and implemented virtually every day, 3D printing technology’s potential to impact the industry is just beginning.
Five key ways 3D printing is changing the automotive industry