Dr Paul J. Wolcott, applications engineer additive manufacturing at General Motors talks about his role and his presentation at the Global Automotive Lightweight Manufacturing Summit 2018, taking place from 21–22 February 2018 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. 

Please can you give us a little background about yourself and your current role?

My background is in automotive metallurgy solutions as well as advanced manufacturing using additive manufacturing. In my early career, I was focused on advanced powertrain materials systems and lightweight alloys. My PhD work focused on metals additive manufacturing applications including dissimilar material joining and embedded sensing. More recently my role at GM has been focused on applications of additive manufacturing for automotive applications, including metallic components and tooling.

Your presentation is on assessing the current trends in 3D metal laser sintering. How important do you see this to the future of the industry?

There has been a lot of development in the 3D metal printing industry within the last 5 years or so. As the technologies develop and the applications are identified, I think there is some potential to change a lot of the conventional thinking in how we design and build vehicles. Current state is probably more focused on low volume and tooling type applications, but as technologies and cost structures improve, it could vastly change the way vehicles designed and put together.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

The fortunate part of my job is that I get to work with a technology that is rapidly changing. I’ve got to be flexible to new methods while also identifying applications that can be used in the here and now. Working to change the way we think about designing and building vehicles allows me to look at new projects just about every day.

Using 50-100 words can you describe your presentation and how it will help your colleagues?

I’ll be presenting an outlook on the 3D printing industry for metals applications and an overview of how current developments are shaping things moving forward. I’m hoping to provide some example uses of the technology as well as developments the industry will need moving forward to fully implement these technologies. Automotive applications have been somewhat limited due to the economics, however, as these technologies continue to rapidly development, the automotive industry needs to be ready for implementation.

This story is reprinted from material from the Global Automotive Lightweight Manufacturing Summit, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.