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The Application Of 3D Printing In The Automotive Industry

Sep 05, 2020

3D printing is another technological leap in the field of industrial manufacturing. It subverts our traditional subtractive manufacturing process technology. Instead, it opens a new era of additive manufacturing in the form of layers of materials.


1. The application of 3D printing in the automotive industry

In the automotive industry, because mold manufacturing can be exempted, 3D printing is usually used in the research and development stage of modeling review, design verification, prototype production, part trial production, concept cars, tooling fixtures, inspection tools, personalized customization, covering verification, and small batch spare parts Wait.


Well-known international automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Toyota, Ford, etc. have already used 3D printing technology extensively in the development stage of automobiles.


According to statistics, the application of 3D printing in the automotive industry accounts for 31.7% of the entire application industry.


2. The practical application of 3D printing in the field of automobile trial production

Whether it is metal 3D printing or non-metal 3D printing, most of the materials can meet the performance needs of auto parts, which provides more possibilities for the research and development and trial production of the automotive industry and the personalized customization of commercial vehicles. From the parent type to the parts, from the auxiliary tool to the inspection tool, from the cost to the cycle, all have brought a qualitative leap in the production and research and development of automobiles.


2.1 Print the silicone film master type

In the stage of auto parts trial production, when small batches of large plastic parts are trial-produced, the best choice is to consider the silicone mold. However, the prototypes are usually made by CNC, which is very expensive, so now many parts suppliers have also The introduction of 3D printing equipment and the production of prototypes through 3D printing are fast and economical, greatly improving production efficiency.


2.2 Prototype samples

In the design and development stage, 3D printing can process design verification parts and model review parts, which greatly saves manufacturing costs and R&D cycles.


During the assembly process of the engineering prototype, it is possible that individual parts cannot keep up with the assembly schedule. At this time, in order to meet the test requirements, it is necessary to print the corresponding parts for loading. However, because the strength of 3D printed parts is slightly weaker, it is necessary to thicken the parts or add stiffeners to meet the demand.


In the assembly stage of the platform prototype, when the local body is changed, the corresponding interior and exterior parts or air ducts also need to be changed. Our usual method is to cut and bond on the basis of the original parts, but it is inevitable that there will be air leakage and sheet metal exposure, which will affect the experience of the tester and the beauty of the whole vehicle. And now we can use 3D printing to produce informal guard plate parts in small batches based on the modified body data, which can better provide the best service for trial-produced users-tests.


2.3 Trial inspection tool

When inspecting OTS parts in storage and analyzing the matching problems of parts, we need to know whether some parts meet the size requirements of the drawing, and some dimensions cannot be directly measured. The tooling inspection tool for mass production is not completed At the same time, you can design and print simple inspection tools to quickly meet the testing requirements of certain sizes.


2.4 Trial production tooling

In the trial production stage of the whole vehicle, the accuracy of the body is still unstable, and some parts need to be assembled with fixtures. At this time, it is impossible to debug the mass-produced fixture with the trial-manufactured body, so the trial-manufacture may face the embarrassing situation of manual assembly, and the assembly accuracy will easily not meet the test requirements.


At this time, 3D printing can be used to make simple tooling and fixtures temporarily and quickly, which not only reduces the difficulty of assembly, but also meets the test requirements.


In the near future, more and more manufacturing companies will establish 3D printing innovation centers, and the automotive industry will also develop rapidly under the support of 3D printing technology.