Ford begins 3D printing assembly

Ford Sollers has started 3D printing assembly line components in Russia as a part of a new efficiency enhancement programme.

The technology, implemented at Ford Sollers plants in Vsevolzhk and Naberezhnye Chelny, enables the company to print around 30 different components.

3D printing components improves efficiency and also ensures a high level of workplace safety for assembly line workers. It’s also very cost effective.

The first step in the 3D printing process involves creating a virtual model of a component using special software on a PC which then slices the model into thin layers. The 3D printer then prints by feeding molten plastic though a nozzle, layer by layer, until the component is complete.

3D printing could have immense benefits for automotive production, including the ability to produce lighter-weight parts, which may help improve fuel efficiency. A 3D-printed spoiler, for instance, may have half the weight of its metal-cast equivalent.