HP and Ford team to recycle 3D printed waste into auto parts – 3DPrint.com


In some of the coolest additive manufacturing news I’ve heard lately, HP and Ford announced that they have teamed up to revolutionize the way 3D printing waste is reused in the automotive industry. Both companies say sustainability is a top priority, and in a victory for the circular economy, they have launched an industry-first program that takes powders and 3D printed parts and turns them into molded vehicle components. by injection, in particular the fuel line clips which will first be installed on Ford Super Duty F-250 trucks. According to a press release, not only are injection-molded components better for the environment, they also maintain the same level of quality and durability that Ford customers are used to.

HP strongly believes that additive manufacturing adds value to the continued growth of manufacturing systems and processes, and Ford, which aims to achieve 100% sustainable materials in all of its vehicles, says the technology could transform the customization of volume components for automobiles.

Debbie Mielewski, Ford Technical Member, Sustainability, said: “Finding new ways of working with sustainable materials, reducing waste and leading the development of the circular economy are passions at Ford. Many companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but, together with HP, we are the first to find a high-value application for waste powder that would likely have gone to landfill, turning it into auto parts. functional and durable.

According to the release, injection-molded fuel line clips cost 10% less to manufacture, are 7% lighter, and also have better moisture and chemical resistance than those made with traditional manufacturing processes. In addition to the fact that the two companies found a practical way to increase the life of used 3D printed powders, Ford’s research team found that ten other fuel line clips on the automaker’s existing vehicles automotive would have added value by this innovative solution, and are also working to implement them in future car models.

Ford has been recognized in the past for its use of 3D printing, and hasn’t stopped there – it’s always working to create new applications for the technology. It uses many different materials, such as sand, powder and filaments, and AM processes to manufacture several low volume commercial vehicle parts, in addition to accessories used by assembly line workers.

“A key to achieving our sustainability goals and solving larger societal problems is to work with other like-minded companies – we can’t do it alone. Together with HP, we defined the waste problem, solved the technical challenges and found a solution in less than a year, which we are all proud of, ”said Mielewski.

For its part, HP recently partnered with another company to 3D print auto parts for Nissan’s NISMO division. Its printers were designed with efficiency and durability from the start, both reducing excess material generated and reusing more material. Ford is already using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printers in its advanced manufacturing facility, and together the two have developed and implemented this zero-waste, closed-loop injection molding solution in less than a year. .

“You get more sustainable manufacturing processes with 3D, but we’re always striving to do more, advancing our industry to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle powders and parts. Our collaboration with Ford further expands the environmental benefits of 3D printing, showing how we bring together entirely different industries to make better use of used manufacturing materials, enabling a new circular economy, ”said Ellen Jackowski, Head of Sustainability and social impact, HP.

Ford and HP worked with three other companies to develop this unique and sustainable solution, and the first was oral care company SmileDirectClub, which operates the largest number of HP 3D printers in the country: more than 60 MJF systems are used in its factory to help create over 40,000 dental aligners per day. To increase the volume of parts for Ford in this new initiative, the 3D printed parts used to make the aligner molds are then collected and recycled with HP.

The other two partners are resin producer Lavergne, which has been a long-standing recycling partner of HP, and Ford supplier ARaymond, which designs, develops and manufactures assembly systems. In this case, Lavergne takes the used molds and powder from Ford’s HP 3D printers and turns them into recycled plastic pellets for injection molding. Then ARaymond molds these pellets into fuel line clips for Ford vehicles.

According to the recently published SmarTech Analysis report “Additive manufacturing in the factory of the future: opportunities and markets,“3D printing” makes up about one percent of the overall manufacturing and production landscape “, with barriers to adoption including, but not limited to, high costs to scale and the difficulty of controlling quality throughout the supply chain. Although this partnership is not directly related to 3D printing of auto parts, but rather to recycling powder and components to make various useful objects, this is certainly an example of a way to reduce costs. The report also states that “AM will lead to lower fixed costs and smaller manufacturing footprints than traditional manufacturing”, and I believe both of these results will be the result of this Unique initiative between HP and Ford.

(Source / Images: Ford)

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