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GM Needed to 3D Print 60,000 Parts to Deliver the Chevrolet Tahoe on Time

3D printing has entered the mainstream with carmakers, allowing them to speed up development and production for certain parts. For instance, when Chevrolet modified the design of the 2022 Tahoe, it was able to quickly print 60,000 parts. It did this in half the time it would’ve taken using the traditional injection molding process.
GM needed to 3D print 60,000 parts to deliver the Chevrolet Tahoe on time 6 photos
A room with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printersGM needed to 3D print 60,000 parts to deliver the Chevrolet Tahoe on time2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z712021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z712021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71
We’re all familiar with 3D printing these days. Still, not everyone knows that this technology is also used to produce car parts. It requires special 3D printers and materials, but the technology is not that different from your average 3D printer at home. With various parts shortages, 3D printing helps carmakers deliver vehicles on time and quickly change part designs as required. Chevrolet just demonstrated this flexibility with the 2022 Tahoe.

The spoiler design for the 2022 model year Tahoe has changed later in the development cycle, so GM needed to produce a different spoiler closeout seal quickly and in large numbers. The seal closes the gap between the spoiler and the body at the back of the SUV. Developing the tooling to produce the new parts the traditional way would’ve taken too long, causing delivery delays for 30,000 vehicles.

Luckily, GM has invested in 3D printing technology, partnering with GKN Additive Forecast 3D, an expert in large-scale industrial 3D printing. Using HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers, GKN engineers could quickly print the components using a flexible material that met GM’s criteria. Thanks to a process called vapor polishing, the printed part looked exactly like a rubber seal produced using traditional technologies.

The Chevrolet Tahoe needs two seals, so GM had to produce 60,000 parts very quickly. GKN Additive Forecast 3D delivered the parts in just five weeks. This is less than half the time needed to make the modified parts using the injection-molding technology. Unlike the latter, 3D printing can go from the digital model to production in seconds. The high-productivity 3D-printing machines take care of the rest.


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