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Making Automotive Manufacturing More Efficient with 3D Printing

We talk a lot about fuel efficiency here on PumpTalk. And that's generally in regards to driving (avoiding sudden stops and starts, removing extra weight from the car, etc.) or about car technology - things like using solar reflective paint technology or making car parts from renewable or recyclable materials. But it's not just the driving or the parts that go into cars that can be considered "fuel efficient". Fuel efficiency truly starts at the car manufacturing stage.

Even cars that contain renewable or recycled parts use a lot of energy in the manufacturing phase. In many cases, the emissions from driving the car itself pale in comparison to the emissions that occurred during the manufacturing of the car. This applies to hybrids, fuel powered, even electric cars - the overall lifecycle of a vehicle has a huge environmental impact.

One company, Divergent 3D, hopes to change that. Divergent 3D has created a 3D printed auto manufacturing platform that will allow car manufacturers to reduce their resource use and do more just-in-time manufacturing (two factors that reduce both the cost as well as the environmental impact of vehicle creation) as well as produce vehicles that are lighter, stronger, safer and more durable than traditionally manufactured vehicles.

This video, from Divergent 3D, discusses their manufacturing process using additive manufacturing techniques (more commonly known as 3D printing) and its benefits to the environment.

Divergent 3D has created a concept super-car, the Blade, that is built on their 3D printed chassis. They've also developed the Dagger, which is a concept super-bike. Through their additive manufacturing, Divergent 3D has reduced both the weight of the motorcycle by 20% as well as the number of parts needed for the frame from over 100 to just 5; both factors which have substantially reduced manufacturing impacts. Recently, Divergent 3D CEO, Kevin Czinger, spent time with noted car enthusiast Jay Leno discussing the Dagger, the Blade and the overall positive impact of 3D printing for the automotive industry.

What do you think - are we ready to change how we manufacture cars? Share your thoughts in the comments!

- Rose R.

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