Ford has announced that 3D printing offers a new source of low-volume auto parts. By using 3D printer waste for car parts, manufacturers hope to increase sustainability in the automotive industry.
In fact, Auto Components have already managed to extend the life of used 3D printed parts and powders to convert them into auto parts for Super Duty F-250 trucks, thus getting rid of all the waste involved. Overall, the entire implementation process took less than one year.
Ford now plans to work with HP to continue reusing 3D printer materials to develop auto parts. This kind of sustainable waste conversion into injection molded vehicle parts is proven by the industry first. Fortunately, these new parts are healthier for the environment and provide the same type of durability expected by both Ford and HP, as well as their customers.
In fact, these parts show better resistance to moisture and chemicals than the previous version, seven percent lighter and 10 percent cheaper. The research team at Ford has even found 10 other fuel line clips on existing cars that could benefit from these revolutionary materials and aim to implement these materials for future models.
In addition, since 3D printers already employ extensive recycling strategies that allow them to reuse most of their own waste, this new solution promises to allow the 3D printing process to achieve zero waste. Both companies expressed great optimism about the combination of their two different industries.
As part of this process, Ford has begun manufacturing a variety of materials and processes for 3D printing, such as filaments, liquid vat polymerization, powders, and sand. In addition, they have already begun to integrate 3D printing into the production process on the assembly line to improve quality and save time.
With the support of other companies, oral care Medtech organization SmileDirectClub, HP recycling partner Lavergne, and Ford supplier ARaymond, Ford, and HP are already converting molds and discarding powders from the 3D printing process. Indeed, more recently, Ford is using its more than 60 HP 3D printers to produce more than 40,000 aligners per day. Used 3D printer parts contribute to the redesigned collection to increase the volume of materials for Ford.
This conversion process works by converting molds and powders from 3D printers into high-quality recycled plastic pellets useful for injection molding. Ford engineers then use these pellets to produce fuel line clips.