Ford’s pilot plant in Germany, Cologne initialises the creation of new vehicles before they are massed produced. Their small-scale manufacturing line develops cars years before they go into production. Research Engineer Lars Bognar has been trying to optimise workflow at Ford’s Research & Advanced Engineering site in Aachen. In order to do this, he is using an Ultimaker to create tools, jigs and fixtures for Ford’s manufacturing process.
The custom tools that Ford employees have to use are often design for one task and model in particular. The problem is that these tools have to be created externally and require a lot of time and money. In order to get these tools faster, Ford’s team decided that using 3D printing was a solid solution.
So that they could transition into 3D printing effectively an additive manufacturing team was founded, who started with SLS immediately. Although the SLS project was a success, the parts required a lot of post processing. As a result, Ford turned to Ultimaker and their FFF technology to provide a faster and more affordable solution. Additionally, both engineers and local workforces are able to use a 3D printer to create tools they need.