Automotive leader Ford has created a unique means to mix driver biometrics with additive manufacturing to prevent vehicle thieves. The unique fresh product, bespoke 3D printed locking nuts may be utilized to maintain metal wheels secure from theft.
Vehicles are being created with a growing high-tech security mechanism. However, this still has not prevented vehicle thieves from chasing expensive vehicle pieces. Such pieces include alloy wheels. To combat this kind of theft, the automakers have begun putting locking nuts on every wheel. This can just be loosened by utilizing an exceptional key. But even these particular security precautions, have their dark side.
Ford has currently taken conventional locking nuts to another t level by the use of additive manufacturing and vocal biometrics. Particularly, the automaker has created locking bolts whose outlines depend on the driver’s voice pattern.
We have witnessed vocal patterns changed into 3D models previously, usually for custom jewelry. In this case, it captures a recording of the voice of the driver. The waves of sound from the recording and changed into a printable design. This is by use of special software and the design is after that modeled into a circle to create the locking nut’s key and indentation.
The locking bolt and its key are later additively manufactured. This is as one piece by use of the EOS metal 3D printing technology and stainless steel particles. After printing, the key and nut are separated and completed with a tiny amount of crushing.
“It’s one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone,” says the research engineer at Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe, Raphael Koch.
“Some alloy wheels can cost thousands to replace, but these unique rim nuts will stop thieves in their tracks. Making wheels more secure and offering more product personalization are further proof that 3D printing is a game-changer for car production,” he added.
Also, the custom securing bolt and key feature backup safety features that enable it to reproduce. For example, the uneven sections and strips inside the bolt can’t be copied by the use of wax imprint. This is because the wax separates while it is taken away from the nut. This as stated by Ford.
The metal additively manufactured security machine does not necessarily need to be tailored by the use of the voice of the driver.
Ford is said to explore the utilization of the logo of the car or the initials of the driver to design the locking key and nut. Utilizing additive manufacturing offers Ford engineers the flexibility to test different tools. It also offers it the flexibility to generate novel solutions such as the custom securing nut for alloy wheels.
Research Engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe, Lars Bognar says: “Having our very own plug-and-play printer enables us to make tools and parts exactly when we need them and to replace them faster than ever before. For some tools, the delivery time was up to eight weeks, but with 3D printing, the turn-around has been reduced to just five days. Best of all, anyone can sit down, create the part they need and start printing it using recycled plastic.”