How to Choose the Right 3D Printing Technology for Automotive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing Solution Guide for the Auto Industry

Additive manufacturing provides many benefits to the automotive industry. In fact, additive manufacturing offers time- and cost-saving solutions at each phase in the automotive production process including, product development, production support and part production.

Along with the benefits AM offers, there’s a wide variety of available AM technologies. In addition, determining which technology to use with each production phase isn’t always clear or easy.

But that’s why we’ve published this Solution Guide. If you’re an engineer, designer, or program manager involved in any phase of automotive production, this guide will show you how AM benefits each step of the development process and help you determine which AM technology is best suited for each.

How AM Benefits Product Development

Product development is the broad term that encompasses product ideation and design. It usually involves the creation of conceptual models and prototypes, and it’s where 3D printing can play a particularly effective role.

The primary benefit of AM for this phase of automotive production is the acceleration of the design and product development process, usually at a lower cost than traditional methods. Additive manufacturing achieves this in several ways, which we cover in the solution guide below – click on the image below to download a copy.

How AM Benefits Production Support

Production support involves anything associated with the manufacturing process on the production floor. The predominant application of 3D printing in this phase consists of the tooling used to make, assemble, paint and inspect parts that ultimately form the completed vehicle.

The key benefit of AM for manufacturing is a lower-cost, more efficient production process.

How AM Benefits End-Use Part Production

Additive manufacturing is traditionally viewed as a prototyping and tooling technology. However, the reality is that AM can beat traditional manufacturing for making end-use parts in specific scenarios.

These scenarios are becoming more prevalent as car manufacturers increase customization and search for more economical ways to support spare, replacement, and obsolete parts. These situations involve reduced part quantity demand, which opens the door to economically viable low-to-mid-level production quantities using additive manufacturing.

The bottom line is that high-production 3D printers enable faster time to market, optimal supply chain efficiency, and cost-effective customization.

Choosing the Best 3D Printer for Your Automotive Manufacturing Needs

Now that you know how additive manufacturing benefits the auto industry, it’s time to take a closer look at how you can make that happen in your operation. The key lies in using the right technology for the distinct phases of auto production. That starts with knowing what technology exists and where it fits.

Stratasys makes five different polymer-based AM technologies. Bundled with them are a diverse array of materials and the software needed to manage everything from printing your part to communicating with your connected shop floor.