The automotive industry has witnessed a surge in interest for additive manufacturing applications, and the new AIC is General Motors’ way of leveraging the experience gained over the years. It’s also the company's way of focusing investments for 3D printing technology, as the conglomerate believes it will help reshape its operations, from product development to manufacturing and even motorsports.
“The core component of GM’s transformation is becoming a more agile, innovative company, and 3D printing will play a critical role in that mission,” said Audley Brown, GM director of Additive Design and Materials Engineering. “Compared to traditional processes, 3D printing can produce parts in a matter of days versus weeks or months at a significantly lower cost.”
The AIC will have a total of 24 3D printing units, used for the creation of both polymer and metal solutions through a number of processes – such as “selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, Multi-Jet Fusion and fused deposition modeling.” GM Ventures and GM R&D are also partnering with the AIC, as the new additive manufacturing center is also a lab for validating new additive technologies and applications.
Of course, the first direct result derived from AIC’s existence will be the upcoming introduction of Cadillac’s CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing and their newly created 3D-printed parts. But the company says this is just the first step and sees a bright career for additive manufacturing in many areas, including product personalization, the development of tailored accessories, or the reproduction of classic car parts.