3D Printing in the automotive industry
3D Printing has made a forceful entry in the automotive industry. From printing car parts and accessories to creating new concepts from scratch, the possibilities of 3D printing are endless!
Accessories can play an important role to customise vehicles to local preferences. Hence, the available accessories for any given Honda model range anywhere from 200-300 items.
“Take the CR-V, for example. In the US, this vehicle is marketed to parents to pick up and drop off their children; but in China, it is positioned as the ultimate SUV and a status symbol” Since the vehicle body is built to the same standards worldwide, we use the accessories to give the car a little regional flavor.”
Honda Access, a subsidiary of Honda group in Tokio that manufactures accessories, introduced 3D printing in 2006 as a trial project.
“At that time there was a lot of buzz at the meetings about the possibilities of such technology” “We realized that 3D printing would be extremely advantageous for product development” said Hiroshi Takemori, senior design researcher, product planning department.
Honda Access has realised so many additional advantages to 3D printer ownership. The new 3D printer helped it improve its customization services.
“Stratasys 3D printers allow us to synchronize the development schedule with that of the vehicle itself and create the accessory parts simultaneously, improving both the quality and speed of the prototype process,” comments Takemori. “The technology has become indispensable for our business.”
The overall design process has also improved. Previously, Honda Access used CNC machines to prototype parts (in-house or outsourced), which required full-time operators on- site to ensure safety from the machines’ noisy rotating blades. Outsourcing the project often increased delays due to slower communications between Honda Access and the service bureaus, leading to potential delay of time to market.
Look at the following video to understand how Honda also releases 3D printing data for new concepts!
So…What do you think?… Are you pro 3D printing or not?
If your answer is pro 3D printing, join our prototyping design challenge and win cash, experience and job opportunities!