Ford revolutionised mass construction with scientific management in the early 1900s,

Ford revolutionised mass construction with scientific management in the early 1900s, which became THE way for car manufacturers. Today, many players in the automotive industry produce more efficiently using Toyotas lean production. It’ll be interesting to follow how the industry will incorporate 3D-printing, as presented in the article below.

How do you think the major car manufacturers will use 3D-printing in the future?

For prototyping, just as they have been. Major car manufacturers won’t be interested in the type of customization that 3D printing can allow. Instead, it will be the smaller, niche car manufacturers that will pick up this kind of tech. They’ll see their end result to a consumer that is willing to pay a premium for a truly custom, likely more efficient/lighter/aerodynamic vehicle. That being said, very few people will buy a car that looks like an old computer mouse, aerodynamic though the design might be.

True, the design of this car isn’t the most appealing. I guess they’ve only tried to make it as aerodynamic as possible in order to break the record and promote the concept. Using 3D printing for prototypes is, as you mention, an obvious usage of the technology and I guess that it’s also what 3D printers generally have been used for up until now.

It takes a long time to develop a car and one has to consider a lot of aspects such as safety, type of fuel, etc. before the car is ready for the market. I believe it’s the complexity that makes it impossible for car manufacturers to get the same benefits from 3D printing as someone that design and sell cups or earrings. The time between idea and finished product is too long. What I consider is whether or not one in the future will be able to use a 3D printer to manufacture certain parts in the car. Be it for decreasing the weight of the vehicle, increasing the performance or simply giving the customer a chance to give the car a personal touch.

Why not make it possible for customers to subscribe for spare parts like you today subscribe for music and movies?

I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the aftermarket car part industry will be affected. There’s a passionate user base and a lot of those parts are done in small batches.