With traditional automotive manufacturing methods, an engineer would create a computer model of an intake manifold, for example, and wait about four months for one prototype at a cost of $500,000, according to Harold Sears, Ford's head of additive manufacturing. With 3D printing, Ford can print the same part in four days, including multiple iterations and with no tooling limits, for just $3,000.
HP has been allowing nearly a dozen companies to test the Jet Fusion printing technology in its labs. The companies include Nike, BMW, Johnson & Johnson, Jabil, Siemens, Materialise, Shapeways, Autodesk, and Protolabs.
"For our future roadmap toward serial part production and personal customization, we see major potential in our partnership with HP to investigate this new kind of 3D printing technology at an early stage," Jens Ertel, head of BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center, said in a statement.
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