Making the Case for 3D-Printed Car Parts
Carmakers increasingly use 3D-printing to quickly create prototype parts for testing. But now they’re beginning to look at adding such components into the mass production process, says expert Josh Parker of Proto Labs Inc., a Minnesota-based rapid prototyping service.
3D-printed parts may cost more than traditionally made components. But Parker says the lifecycle costs of such components can be competitive because they save weight, reduce maintenance and eliminate the need for traditional assembly costs such as welding or fasteners.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is just one manufacturing method that drives advanced mobility forward and also has a history of embracing the digital connectivity demanded by this trend.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.