General Motors (AM) has opened a new 15,000 ft2 3D printing facility, called the Additive Industrialization Center (AIC).

According to the company, the facility will house 24 plastic and metal 3D printers carrying out selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, multi-jet fusion and fused deposition modeling.

While plans are to make functional prototypes, such as the brake cooling ducts used for the development of the Chevrolet Corvette, GM is also producing a ‘significant’ number of 3D printed tools used for assembling vehicles, according to the company.

GM says that it also 3D printed nearly 100 hand body shop tools for its new full-size SUVs. While the tools would be normally made of aluminum, weighing anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds, the new designs, constructed with a nylon carbon fiber composite, weigh three pounds or more and virtually eliminated the lead time for ordering part changes.

As well as this, GM brand Cadillac announced that the CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing will be the first GM production vehicles to have 3D printed parts, including an emblem on the manual shifter knob, an electrical harness bracket and two HVAC ducts.

 ‘The parts printed for the Cadillac V-Series models exemplify how we can use additive applications in the right place on the right program,’ said Audley Brown, GM director of additive design and materials engineering. ‘Ultimately, we see the potential for 3D printed parts to be used in a wide variety of production applications – from greater personalization options for new-vehicle buyers, to unique accessories and reproductions of classic car parts.’

‘GM is increasingly applying the benefits of 3D printing, from prototype development to manufacturing tooling and production vehicles,’ added Ron Daul, GM director AM and polymer centers. ‘With the opening of the AIC, we’ll continue to accelerate adoption of this technology across the organization.’

This story uses material from GM, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.