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Automotive in the additive manufacturing lane

Author : Lee-Bath Nelson, Co-Founder and VP Business

31 July 2020

The automotive industry is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of additive manufacturing (AM). Way back in 2018, BMW was already producing over 200,000 3D-printed car parts a year (a leap of 40% compared to the previous year). In tooling, AM is even more prevalent.

Michelin 3D prints (in metal) over one million siping tools a year for use in its tyre manufacturing line. The industry’s adoption of AM is not surprising, as the technology provides the solution to OEMs’ biggest challenges: keeping a lid on production line downtime, increasing customisation possibilities, reducing waste and carbon footprint, and, of course, cutting costs both in the production line and in the supply chain.

The automotive 3D printing market is currently estimated at $1.4bn and is forecasted to grow to $9bn by 2025. A significant part of this market is attributable to tooling – the jigs, gauges and fixtures that are so critical to keeping today’s increasingly complex manufacturing and assembly lines moving. 

Read the full article in the August issue of DPA.


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