Potential applications for 3D printing in automotive include producing hard-to-find parts that are no longer manufactured or when tooling is not available, printing parts in non-manufacturing locations or environments, and creating temporary-use parts, Elfering said. “We are working with manufacturers in several traditional industrial verticals,” he stated. “The automotive aftermarket industry is ripe for 3D printing to facilitate access to unique and difficult-to-find parts.”

Chris Gardner, AASA vice president and group executive of the ATC, added: “Aftermarket manufacturers have to consider ramifications of distributed manufacturing technologies like 3D printing as well as the need to control intellectual property (IP) and the distribution of engineering and design data."