Daimler Trucks to Use 3D Printing in Spare Parts Production

Aug 9, 2016

Daimler, the world’s largest truck manufacturer, will use 3D printing to produce spare parts, the latest example of how digital technologies are radically reshaping automotive manufacturing and its supply chain.

Rather than shipping vehicle parts across the globe, carmakers including BMW and Volkswagen are experimenting with so-called additive manufacturing. This relies on sending a digital blueprint of a component to a printer which creates parts by using lasers to melt powders into plastic, glass, metals and even ceramics.

In a sign of the technology becoming more widespread, Daimler Trucks said on Wednesday that from September, it will use 3D printing processes for plastic spare parts including spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements.

Advances in laser technology, thermal and chemical processes mean 3D printing can be used by carmakers for some small batches of customized components, for things like prototype vehicles and concept cars.

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