With the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in full swing in Detroit this week, it was only a matter of time before there was some additive manufacturing-related news. 3D printing company Carbon and the Ford Motor Company presented a series of digitally manufactured polymer parts at the Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Workshop today.
The parts, which include Ford Focus HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Cooling) Lever Arm Service Parts, Ford F-150 Raptor Auxiliary Plugs and Ford Mustang GT500 Electric Parking Brake Brackets, are the first 3D printed parts realized through Ford and Carbon’s collaboration.
The parts presented at NAIAS 2019 demonstrate how Carbon and Ford are moving ahead with their collaboration, realizing their shared goal of designing and producing digitally manufactured, end-use parts for the automotive industry. The parts in question were all 3D printed using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology and its EPX (epoxy) 82 material.
EPX 82, known for its high-resolution and high-strength properties, was suitable for printing the automotive components and passed Ford’s performance standards and requirements, including interior weathering, heat exposures, UV stability, fluid and chemical resistance, flammability and fogging.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Ford Motor Company and are excited about the many opportunities to leverage the power of digital manufacturing to deliver durable, end-use parts with similar—or better—properties as injection molded parts,” commented Dr. Joseph DeSimone, CEO and Co-founder of Carbon. “The automotive industry shows significant promise for using digital fabrication at scale, and our work with Ford is a perfect example of the kind of innovation you can achieve when you design on the means of production.”
Ford, one of the first adopters of 3D printing technology, has not shied away from utilizing the manufacturing technology across its business. As an example of its dedication, the automotive pioneer recently opened a $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center dedicated to exploring new applications for 3D printing, virtual reality and cobot technologies.
For its part, Silicon Valley-based Carbon has worked with some internationally recognized companies, such as Adidas and Johnson & Johnson, to push the adoption of 3D printing forward. The company is playing an important role in transitioning additive manufacturing from a prototyping process to a full-scale digital manufacturing technology.