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GM Teams with Autodesk on 3D Parts

General Motors Co. is working with San Rafael, Calif.-based design software specialist Autodesk Inc. to develop and produce next-generation parts via 3D-printing, generative design and advanced materials science technology.  
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General Motors Co. is working with San Rafael, Calif.-based design software specialist Autodesk Inc. to develop and produce next-generation parts via 3D-printing, “generative” design and advanced materials science technology. 

GM intends to use Autodesk’s generative design technology to optimize the development process and reduce vehicle weight. The process employs cloud computing and artificial intelligence to rapidly evaluate myriad design permutations involving cost, weight, strength, materials and manufacturing methods.

The companies recently applied the process to a proof-of-concept seat bracket (pictured). The 3D-printed stainless-steel system consolidates eight parts into a single unit that is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than a conventional seat bracket.
 

Other potential benefits of generative design and additive manufacturing include reduced scrap, fewer suppliers and lower tooling and logistics costs.

GM, which has produced prototype parts via 3D printing since the early 1990s, expects by 2020 to begin using the technology for motorsports and high-end production vehicles. The company says it has 50 rapid prototyping machines that have produced more than 250,000 parts over the last decade.

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