Owing to advancements in AM, new avenues are available for the automotive industry through newer designs; lighter, and safer products; shorter lead times; and lower costs. The applications of AM in other sectors make a distinct case for its use in the automotive industry in new product development, improving current products, volume manufacturing and easing supply-chains in the future, in contrast to the current limited use of manufacturing quick prototypes.
In the typical product development cycle, automotive majors arrive at a final design after perusing numerous iterations. Parallel prototyping is one of AM’s major advantages as different designs can be worked on and produced simultaneously with little additional costs, thus enabling automotive companies to improve and conclude on new designs aided by physical prototypes.

Conventionally, before production is begun, tooling and investment castings are prepared for specific designs. For every new deisgn, tooling has to be made afresh resulting in cost and time overruns. By using AM for prototyping, manufacturers have either reduced or done away with their conventional tooling and casting techniques.

Over the longer term, AM-enabled part simplification in assemblies could fundamentally change the design, development, assembly and manufacturing processes. On account of international emission regulations and with the objective of delivering increased value to their customers, automakers are constantly required to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Weight reduction is one of the key methods to improve mileage in automobiles.

When conventional light-weight designs are proposed, the designs are often limited by manufacturing techniques and as such may not deliver the extent of weight reduction required. With AM, radical light-weight designs that are inherently complex in geometry and reduce multiple parts into a monolith, can be realized, as the aerospace industry has demonstrated successfully. Some auto companies are leveraging the advantages of AM, but in a limited approach. Leading international automakers are using AM to make aluminium pumps, valves, cooling vents and polymer bumpers.

Wipro 3D has made prototypes of Aluminum oil intake manifolds and exhaust system covers for global 4-wheeler and 2-wheeler companies and has helped them to significantly compress the product development cycle duration. Wipro 3D offers the capability of high-volume direct manufacturing through AM and light-weighting solutions across a range of metals and applications enabled by Wipro 3D’s extensive Additive Design capability and the Wipro 3D Quality Management System (W3D QMS).

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