The company installed the new fleet of printer at the end of 2019 and has been harnessing 3D printing technology to produce tooling at quicker speeds, lower weight and reduced costs.
GM believes by increasing its 3D printing capacity at faster rates than other automotive players, it can gain a competitive advantage. It has been using the technology for prototyping since the late 1980s – 75% of the parts in its 2020 Chevrolet Corvette were 3D printed – but in recent years has successfully leveraged 3D printing for tooling too. A recent application saw General Motors deploy its Stratasys FDM capabilities to deliver reverse-engineered tooling fixtures for a 30,000-unit order of critical care ventilators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before the end of August.
Fulfilling orders like this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also deploying additive technology to support the production of its own products, General Motors highlights the improved repeatability of machines and higher-performing materials like Stratasys’ Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber product as key developments in its increased application of 3D printing technology. The company has moved to install 3D printers in a host of facilities around the world and has trained hundreds of staff up in order to get the most out of the technology.
“With the pace of change in modern industry accelerating and business uncertainty increasing, 3D printing technology is helping us to meet these challenges and become more nimble as a company,” commented General Motors Director of Additive manufacturing Ron Daul. “We’ve been on this journey for more than 30 years, but 3D printing is becoming even more widespread at our company, with more than 700 employees now trained to use the technology. Additive manufacturing is consistently providing us more rapid and efficient product development, tooling and assembly aids, with even more benefits to come.”
“GM is making the smart investments in 3D printing to success in this new normal of uncertainty and disruption,” added Stratasys Americas President Rich Garrity. “As a result, GM has manufacturing lines that are more adaptable and less expensive and products that are developed faster and better. They are a clear model for the future of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry.”
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