Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is testing out 3D printing for auto parts.
The tests of 3D printing for auto parts are taking place at Ford Motor Company’s Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich. The tests use the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer, which is made by Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS).
Ford Motor Company is the first automotive company to test out the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer. F claims that 3D printing can be used to create large, one-piece automotive parts more efficiently. It notes that this could be used for spoilers, custom parts and for prototypes.
Ford Motor Company also notes that the 3D printing option may result in better fuel efficiency for drivers. The 3D printing uses plastic instead of cast metal, which reduces the weight of the part.
“With Infinite Build technology, we can print large tools, fixtures and components, making us more nimble in design iterations,”Ellen Lee,technical leader of additive manufacturing research at Ford Motor Company, said in a statement. “We’re excited to have early access to Stratasys’ new technology to help steer development of large-scale printing for automotive applications and requirements.”
Ford Motor Company notes that 3D pritning isn’t fast enough for mass production. However, it says that it is much more efficient for low-volume production. It also claims that it is expected to become a $9.6 billion market by 2020. Wider adoption of 3D printing will likely result in lower cost and it becoming more efficient.
You can check out a video of Ford Motor Company’s 3D pritning tests below.