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Lightweight Construction

General Motors wants to print car parts, and thereby make them lighter

In collaboration with Autodesk, the US automotive group wants to develop 3D printing processes for individual parts, with the aim of making electric vehicles lighter and ultimately expanding its product lineup.

10 Jun. 2018
General Motors wants to print car parts, and thereby make them lighter (Photo: General Motors)

According to a Reuters report , General Motors is working with CAD specialist Autodesk to in the future manufacture new, lightweight 3D-printed parts for automotive production. These parts are in particular anticipated to be used in “alternative-fuel” vehicles, by which GM primarily means electric cars. The Group recently promised its investors it will be making money from selling electric cars by 2021.

As the first result of its collaboration with Autodesk, the company showed off a 3D-printed seat bracket. Using conventional technology, this part would require eight components and several suppliers. With this new system, however, the seat bracket was not only produced in a single process, but also 40% lighter and 20% stronger. GM hopes that the increasing use of lightweight parts will enable it to significantly extend its range of electric vehicles. Until now, the Group had only ever used 3D printing for prototyping, but now plans to leverage additive manufacturing processes for mass production.