Over its 140-year history, automotive manufacturing technology has evolved in parallel with progress in the vehicles themselves. Early automakers custom made individual “horseless carriages.” Later, standardized parts and moving assembly lines delivered mass-produced cars. Development of integrated transfer lines enabled part runs to extend for years.
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The auto industry wants to expand the use of 3D printers. Automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG are working directly with additive manufacturers concerning deployment of the technology.
The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and Harbour Results, Inc., (HRI) recently released the results of their Q2 2019 Automotive Tooling Barometer Survey. The results show that the tooling industry continues to slow, with North American capacity utilization at its lowest mark since 2016 when the metric first started being collected.
Earlier this decade, the auto industry moved to lighten cars and trucks. It was supposed to be a competition between steel, long the dominant vehicle material, and aluminum. The latter got a boost when Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., bet big on aluminum, making aluminum bodies for its F-150 and Super Duty pickups.
German metrology developer Jenoptik is shifting “from focusing on metrology and laser processing standalone equipment to integrated automation solutions for the automotive industry and other new applications, including aerospace,” so it recently bought Prodomax Automation in Barrie, Ontario, and Five Lakes Automation, in Michigan, Prodomax Co-CEO Carolyn Garvey said.
Nobody knows just yet how the auto industry will adopt 3D printing. But Desktop Metal Inc. (Burlington, MA) is in a better position than most to make an educated guess.
General Motors Co. posted a lower third-quarter profit because of the 40-day United Auto Workers union strike.
U.S. manufacturing lost 2,000 jobs in September, paced by job cuts among makers of vehicles and parts.
Orders for durable goods fell in September paced by declines in orders for transportation equipment.
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