Since their inception, additive technologies have disrupted the design and product development process in the automotive industry. From form, fit and functional prototyping, which today remains the dominant application among automotive OEMs and their suppliers, additive manufacturing technologies are now extending onto the production floor in greater volumes. AM is set to continue to disrupt this sector with even greater force with the promise of cleaner, lighter, and safer products with shorter lead times and lower costs achieved by way of more localized manufacture.
Using AM, manufacturers can both enable customization and lower costs that arise from the increasing number and complexity of product variants. Additionally, AM allows manufacturers to reduce the number of assembly groups, integrate multiple functions into a single part, and produce lightweight designs. And, by using AM to make spare parts and tools for discontinued product variants, manufacturers can reduce the need to maintain inventories of infrequently requested items.