Ford has teamed up with HP to innovatively reuse spent 3D printed powders and parts, closing the loop and turning them into injection moulded vehicle parts – an industry first.
Sustainability is a priority for both iconic companies, which through joint exploration led to this unlikely, earth-friendly solution.
The resulting injection moulded parts are better for the environment with no compromise in the durability and quality standards Ford and its customers demand.
The recycled materials are being used to manufacture injection-moulded fuel-line clips installed first on Super Duty F-250 trucks.
The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance than conventional versions, are 7% lighter and cost 10% less.
The Ford research team has identified 10 other fuel-line clips on existing vehicles that could benefit from this innovative use of material and are migrating it to future models. “Finding new ways to work with sustainable materials, reducing waste and leading the development of the circular economy are passions at Ford,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford technical fellow, Sustainability.
“Many companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but, together with HP, we’re the first to find a high-value application for waste powder that likely would have gone to landfill, transforming it into functional and durable auto parts.” Targeting enhanced sustainability HP 3D printers are already designed for high efficiency, with systems and structures to minimize the excess material they generate and reuse a greater percentage of the materials put into them.
Working with Ford, which uses HP’s 3D printing technology at the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, the team created this solution that produces zero waste. “You get more sustainable manufacturing processes with 3D, but we are always striving to do more, driving our industry forward to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle powders and parts,” said Ellen Jackowski, chief sustainability and social impact officer, HP. “Our collaboration with Ford extends the environmental benefits of 3D printing even further, showcasing how we are bringing entirely different industries together to make better use of spent manufacturing materials, enabling a new circular economy.” For its part, Ford is developing new applications and utilizing a multitude of different processes and materials for 3D printing, including filaments, sand, powders and liquid vat polymerization. ….