How Is 3D Printing Revolutionizing the Automotive Industry?
Are there ways that 3D printing could change the auto industry? Read on to find out how this tech could change everything!
The automotive industry is competitive, with companies trying to outdo each other as they bring new products to market. As you must have seen with electric and driverless cars, the auto industry has undergone many changes in recent years. 3D printing is another exciting innovation that can help change the way cars are designed, built, and bought.
It Makes the Development Process Faster and Cheaper
Using 3D printing in the development process can make it much faster and cheaper, which benefits any company. It reduces the time it takes to create prototypes by an average of 50 percent. It is because there is no need for casting or machining parts with milling equipment that would take hours or days to complete.
With 3D printing, you can simply print out what you need and start testing immediately without waiting for anything else.
According to Maximize Market Research, the US automotive market was worth $15.9 million in 2021 and is projected to reach $37.8 million in 2029. The US automotive market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 13.17% throughout the projected period. To contribute to such a big market, the cost savings are also significant compared with traditional methods such as injection molding or casting.
It allows one to create more prototypes before deciding on one final design. It also gives companies more flexibility when experimenting with different iterations of designs, so they have time for extensive testing before deciding on the final product or service.
It Helps to Create Better Products
3D printing is a game-changer in the manufacturing process. One reason for this is that it allows companies to create products with complex shapes, geometries, and internal structures that would be difficult or impossible using traditional methods. It has led to a significant increase in demand for 3D printing in the automotive industry.
There are many ways that 3D printing can improve the quality of your vehicle:
- To create complex shapes: Auto manufacturers can now print wheel rims with complex contours that would be very expensive or impossible to manufacture through traditional means. These rims also look better because you can tailor them according to your preferences. For example, you may want a black rim but only want a part covered by chrome.
- High-performance parts: Several global brands are 3D printing auto parts today. These are the likes of Ford that employs Focus HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling) Lever Arm Service Parts. Also, Lamborghini uses a fuel cap and an air duct clip component, and ARaymond that makes a special pipe holding the fastener in low batch volumes.
- To create structural integrity: 3D printing enables manufacturers to make stronger parts more easily than ever. You can do this by building up their layers one at a time instead of having several pieces fused into one larger piece like most cars do today.
In addition, since each layer goes directly onto another without any gaps between them, there will always be fewer weak points where cracks could develop over time. It could lead to long-lasting life expectancy and can save money.
It Allows for More Innovation
The automotive industry is full of highly trained professionals and engineers constantly looking for the next big thing. It can make it difficult to innovate or experiment with new ideas because there’s a risk in altering your current design.
3D printing allows you to take risks without worrying about costs or time constraints. You can test out new designs and materials without going through the lengthy process of creating a mold before prototyping begins.
Also, according to Grand View Research, the size of the worldwide 3D printing market was estimated at USD 13.84 billion in 2021. Furthermore, it is anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 20.8% from 2022 to 2030.
In response to the increasing demand for 3D printing applications, market players constantly improvise 3D printing technology with innovative techniques. Along with the automotive sector, healthcare, aerospace, and military verticals are also on the rise for manufacturing purposes.
Therefore, with 3D printing technology, you have more freedom from traditional manufacturing processes allowing you more creativity with your designs.
It Offers Greater Levels of Personalization
3D printing provides greater levels of customization that aren’t possible with traditional manufacturing techniques.
It’s now possible to customize parts for different users. It is also applicable to the environment and vehicles. A company can create customized air filter housing for customers’ needs or preferences. They can even create an air filter housing that works best in several environments, such as extreme temperatures, or on certain vehicles like motorcycles.
This level of customization is only possible because 3D printing allows you to design your product from the ground up.
It Can Make Supply Chains More Efficient
When you’re developing a new product, getting all the parts can take a while. 3D printing can help reduce that time by allowing you to print and test your samples. It saves time on multiple levels:
- You don’t have to go through all the steps of finding suppliers and waiting for them to produce a sample part before deciding if you want it or not.
- You don’t have to have storage space for all those extra parts until they are needed for manufacturing.
- It can reduce shipping costs because there is no need for expensive materials like steel or aluminum, which would require using multiple trucks for each one’s contents not to be damaged during transport. Also, because shipping companies charge based on weight, less weight means lower shipping costs.
It is Better for the Environment
3D printing can also be better for the environment than traditional manufacturing. When you buy a 3D-printed car, you support using recycled materials. The same goes for parts made from plastic pellets or other waste materials sent back from old cars and buildings.
Many companies in this industry have already invested in 3D printers to make the parts for their products. It is a much more efficient way to do so compared to other methods, such as CNC machining.
Another benefit is reduced waste from owning a vehicle which creates less pollution and lowers your carbon footprint. It is especially true if you purchase an electric or hybrid model because these vehicles do not need any fuel.
Plus, with fewer emissions being produced during production time, because there’s no need for paint shops, there will also be less emission coming out through exhaust pipes. Thus, it makes things better both ways around.
Aims to Achieve Versatility
One of the main reasons why 3D printing is so revolutionary is because it allows for more versatility. Traditionally, some barriers constrain what can be made as a part and what materials it can be made from. With 3D printing, these limitations don’t exist anymore. If you want to create a part that isn’t available in other materials or has some unique properties, then you can achieve this with a 3D printer.
3D printers may be utilized for various purposes thanks to the industry’s rapid technological advancement.
As per IBIS World, it is demonstrated by the market size of the 3D printer manufacturing sector, as determined by revenue, which is expected to reach $6.7 billion in 2022. Thus, as technology develops, there is a much chance of increasing the likelihood that customers and downstream sectors will adopt the technology even more.
Another way that 3D printers achieve versatility is by making parts that aren’t possible using traditional manufacturing methods such as casting or molding. In addition, when you look at how these traditional manufacturing methods work on an assembly line basis, they tend not to allow for customization.
3D printing, on the other hand, allows users greater control over what they want their final product to look like.
Also, how much customization do they want within their parts’ design before being printed out onto their machines’ build trays? Again, it increases efficiency across multiple departments within an organization’s supply chain network resulting in lower costs overall.
3D Printing Auto Parts Can Benefit Designers, Buyers, and Auto Brands
Whether it’s a prototype or a final product, 3D printing allows for more innovation. Designers can experiment with different shapes and sizes, which leads to better products overall. Adding personalization to the mix further increases functionality and gives buyers a sense of ownership over their vehicles.
Adding even more value to the equation is the fact that 3D printing helps make supply chains more efficient. For example, if a component breaks on your car, you no longer have to wait weeks or months for it to arrive from overseas. You’ll be able to get the replacement part in minutes.