In a bid to boost its 3D printing, General Motors has acquired 17 Stratasys Fused Deposition Modelling platforms. These printers were sourced end of last year and have been assisting the company to improve its production of lighter tools at a faster and cost-effective way.
The company is working on having a competitive edge in the automobile industry through these innovative advances in additive manufacturing. Since the 1980’s they have used 3D printing to produce prototypes and now 75% of the parts of their 2020 Chevrolet Corvette were 3D printed. Using their Stratasys FDM technology, they are currently working on an order from the US Department of Health and Human Services to produce tooling fixtures for a 30,000 Unit of Critical Care Ventilators by end of August using reverse engineering.
In partnership with Ventec Life systems, GM’s production facility in Indiana has been producing VOCSN critical care ventilators to help in the fight against COVID-19. Using 3D printing, the company has manufactured products for internal use and for other customers while demonstrating improved reuse of machines. They have also tested the high performing materials like Stratasys’ Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber that is mostly used in additive manufacturing. The company is now installing 3D printers in their premises worldwide and have trained their workforce in using them so as to get the maximum benefit from them.
According to Ron Daul, General Motors’ Director of Additive Manufacturing 3D printing innovations have helped the company weather the unpredictable business environment as well as keep up with the inventions across the industry. He adds that 30 years into 3D printing, they company is extensively using in now with more than 700 employees trained on it. This has seen improvements in product development, tooling and assembly aids and they expect more benefits with time.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages economies, GM has moved to make informed and strategic investments in 3D printing to deal with the disruptions and unpredictable times according to Rich Garrity, Stratasys’ Americas President. What this mean is that GM will have assembly lines that are resilient, cost effective and faster. He further adds that this has set precedent for other players in the automobile industry and is the future of 3D printing for that market. ”