December 24, 2013

IT'LL NEVER FLY, ORVILLE:

Ford's 3D-Printed Auto Parts Save Millions Of Dollars (Arab Times, 12/23/13)

One day, millions of car parts could be printed as quickly as newspapers and as easily as pushing a button on the office copy machine, saving months of development time and millions of dollars. 3D printing technology is making that day come sooner at Ford Motor Company. The development of the engine cover for the all-new Ford Mustang is the most recent example of the use of this technology. Ford uses 3D printing to quickly produce prototype parts, shaving months off the development time for individual components used in all of its vehicles, such as cylinder heads, intake manifolds and air vents. With traditional methods, an engineer would create a computer model of an intake manifold -- the most complicated engine part -- and wait about four months for one prototype at a cost of $500,000. With 3D printing, Ford can print the same part in four days, including multiple iterations and with no tooling limits -- at a cost of $3,000.

"For the customer, this means better quality products that also can be weight-optimized to help improve fuel efficiency," explains Paul Susalla, Ford section supervisor of rapid manufacturing.
3D printing saves millions of dollars in the product development process by eliminating the need for special tooling, or dedicated molds, for parts likely to change. The technology also allows engineers to experiment with more radical, innovative part designs inexpensively and quickly.
Posted by at December 24, 2013 3:24 PM
  
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