Turning 3D waste into vehicle parts

The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance, and are 7% lighter and cost 10% lesser than conventional versions, the automotive company noted.

March 30, 2021 06:48 pm | Updated 06:59 pm IST

Ford says 3D printing has potential to revolutionise customisation of low-volume vehicle parts. | Picture by special arrangement.

Ford says 3D printing has potential to revolutionise customisation of low-volume vehicle parts. | Picture by special arrangement.

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Car maker Ford and tech firm Hewlett-Packard (HP) have come together to transform 3D waste, like printed powders and parts, into vehicle components.

The recycled materials are being used to manufacture injection-moulded fuel-line clips that will be installed first on the automaker’s Super Duty F-250 trucks.

Also Read | Ford to partly assemble some vehicles, idle two plants due to global chip shortage

“Many companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but, together with HP, we’re the first to find a high-value application for waste powder that likely would have gone to landfill, transforming it into functional and durable auto parts,” Debbie Mielewski, Ford technical fellow, said in a statement.

The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance, and are 7% lighter and cost 10% lesser than conventional versions, the automotive company noted. Moreover, the Ford research team has identified 10 other fuel-line clips on existing vehicles that could benefit from this innovative use of material.

Also Read | BMW’s next-gen iDrive system uses AI, 5G to help drivers

The automobile giant said it is also developing newer applications and utilising a multitude of different processes and materials for 3D printing, including filaments, sand, powders, and liquid vat polymerisation.

Working with HP, the automaker defined waste problem, solved technical challenges, and found a solution in less than one year, Mielewski noted.

Also Read | HP makes first ever PCs with plastic waste in ocean

“You get more sustainable manufacturing processes with 3D, but we are always striving to do more, driving our industry forward to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle powders and parts,” Ellen Jackowski, chief sustainability and social impact officer at HP, said in a statement.

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