Ford tests the ultra-fast 3D printing technology of Carbon3D

Ford-ExplorerFord approaches the actors of Silicon Valley. Its Palo Alto research center is working on multiple tracks of innovation, from the connected car, mobile applications, autonomous cars, to Big Data. Among this research, 3D printing. Ford has just announced to be particularly interested in the ultrafast 3D printing technology developed by Carbon3D. Since December 2014 the car manufacturer participated in the first tests of this new 3D printing technology that promises an increased printing speed of 25 to 100 times.

Carbon3D has developed a 3D printing technology much faster than the usual techniques

Since December 2014, the company has been working with Redwood City-based Carbon3D – which developed Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP) – a 3D printing technology that grows parts from UV curable resins at speeds as much as 25 to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes. The resulting parts boast mechanical properties that are applicable for a range of needs for Ford vehicles including high-quality automotive-grade parts.

A 3D printer Carbon3D currently producing a gasoline supply tube for Ford.

The technology is called CLIP for Continuous Liquid Interface Production. It operates conventionally to achieve the ultraviolet light curing of the resin, but this process Carbon3D refined by coupling the oxygen which inhibits the effect of ultraviolet. According to measurements made by the startup, 3D printing of a complex object of 51 mm no longer represent only 6.5 minutes for 3 hours against PolyJet Technology Object / Stratasys, 3.5 hours and 11.5 SLS hours in ALS. These figures put forward by Carbon3D can obviously be discussed, but they allowed the startup of Redwood raise $ 10 million from Autodesk having already raised $ 41 million in 2014 from Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital.

3D Printed Focus Electric Grommet and Transit Bumper

Some parts produced by 3D printing by Ford engineers.

For now releases of Ford and Carbon3D evoke the manufacture of prototype parts via this technology. Ford has produced grommets for its electric Focus and yet different rooms for its Ford Transit Connect. The use of 3D printing in rapid prototyping is now a practice now well established in many industrial multiple sectors. The print speed, the (relative) range of available materials and the rendering quality of the CLIP technology will grow Ford they adopt 3D printing to produce parts in large series?

Translation : Google Translate

Sources :

“Why Ford is partnering with a hot 3D printing startup”, Fortune, June 23, 2015

“Ford Collaborates with Silicon Valley Innovation Ecosystem on Autonomous Vehicles, 3D Printing, Wearable Technology”, Ford press release, June 23, 2015

“Ford Taps Carbon3D’s CLIP Technology”, Carbon3D press release, June 23, 2015

“Autodesk Pours $10 Million into Carbon3D’s Ultra-Fast 3D Printing Technology”, 3DPrintingIndustry, April 9, 2015

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