Trucking manufacturing as we know it is changing at breakneck speed thanks to technological breakthroughs such as smart technology and 3D printing. Over the past few years, 3D printing has continued to revolutionize truck manufacturing in numerous ways. While some trucking manufactures, like GM, are slowly easing their way into 3D printing adoption, other industry bigwigs like Volvo and Mercedes Benz have embraced it with a far greater degree of fervor. Although it is not free of limitations, there are a number of ways in which 3D printing can be of benefit to truck manufacturing.
Swifter innovation can be achieved
An increasing number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Mercedes Benz and Volvo Trucks are utilizing the power of 3D printing to print prototype molds. By making use of 3D printing from the onset of the prototype process, the amount of time spent on creating and assessing novel components is reduced significantly. Due to this, innovation can take place at a rapid pace while the overall quality of the components can be improved simultaneously. The possibilities of 3D printing innovations are near endless. Rapid Prototype 3D, for instance, printed a mold that was used to construct a composite shell structure which was later turned into a truck sleeper cab by one of its clients. Krismar.
Decreased weight may reduce accident damage
There are a number of reasons why accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles tend to be of a very severe nature. According to one DC truck accident attorney, there are two very obvious differences between trucks and cars: a difference in size and a difference in weight. Although 3D printing may not be able to change a truck’s size, it could reduce the weight of certain components. This is achieved by making complex parts substantially more streamlined via a 3D printing process and even substituting some parts that are traditionally made from metal, with ones fabricated from strong and durable plastic. Ford was one of the first manufacturers to look into large-scale 3D printing with the purpose of making trucks lighter. According to a company spokesperson, a 3D printed spoiler can, for example, weigh up to 50% less than that of the original metal part, rendering the truck as a whole considerably lighter.
Spares can be available on-demand, as required
Mercedes Benz Trucks was one of the early adopters when 3D printing started to find a home in the trucking industry. It took them only two years to develop a series of thirty 3D printed spare parts that can be constructed in large quantities with the push of a button. This is ideal when it comes to having to source parts that are particularly rare or that need to be shipped from a distant location. 3D printing can also reduce manufacturing costs by allowing for the on-demand acquisition of slow-moving parts.
3D printing continues to impact truck manufacturing in numerous ways. If the rapid speed at which 3D printing is advancing is anything to go by, the future of truck manufacturing may soon undergo an exciting transformation.