Volvo’s use of 3-D printing comes from NRV plant
The work Volvo is doing with 3-D printing originated in Dublin and it’s now an integral part of the manufacturing process.
Volvo spokeswoman Mary Beth Halprin said the technology was implemented approximately seven years ago by engineer Eddie Kinser. She said the company has been building off of the initial application with the addition of new materials and other 3-D printing technology.
“The SLS [Selective Laser Sintering] machine was implemented at NRV approximately three years ago, and is now our most-utilized 3-D printing technology,” Halprin wrote in an email.
SLS is a 3-D printing technology that uses a laser to sinter powdered plastic material into a solid structure that is then rigorously tested and put into use in the manufacturing process. Using the new part-making method allows engineers to draw the end product and having it print in a matter of hours, cutting down on the time it takes using traditional methods, according to the release.
There are now more than 500 manufacturing tools and fixtures in use on the NRV shop floor produced using 3-D printing. Volvo is able to save $1,000 per part on a one-piece diffuser used in the paint atomizer cleaning process, which also eliminates the need for a multiple-piece part, according to a company news release.
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