The time is now approaching when car companies will make use of 3D printing to manufacture car parts. This is about to bring benefits in cost and strength that will perk up the affordability and character of vehicles in the future. This statement came from Florian Schek, BMW's head of lightweight design.
Today, vehicle manufacturers mainly use the advanced technology for the development and design stage to make prototype parts or models promptly. However, Schek strongly believes that sooner or later, the technology will be moved into end-consumer production methods.
He confessed that it will be used first on low-volume speciality vehicles as the time period needed to mass-produce parts by 3D printing doesn’t work as fast as conservative methods. This includes casting and forging for metals, or as reasonably priced as plastics. He also stated that rapid advances in the technology will ensure that future application is viable.
He told Drive that they already have that in prototyping and is looking forward for its main stream production in the future. 3D printing will provide the benefits in major components such as shock absorber towers, improvements in weight reductions and rigidity. This is all because as the printing process could create components more intricately. Parts can be designed according to the forces that are running through it and he believes that this will be a big step forward for some areas.
The all-new BMW 7-Series that was recently launched uses different materials in its skeleton – including steel, aluminium and carbon fibre – to reduce weight and increase overall strength.