Saturday, November 23, 2013

Can the 3-D Printer Help 'Green' the Auto Industry?

Ianis Vasilatos shows off his Local Motors Cruiser, a motorized bike made using a 3-D printer. Photo by Jerry Ferguson, courtesy of Local Motors. Click to enlarge.
Henry Ford's vision was to build a motor car for the multitudes.  His answer came in 1908 with the debut of the Model T at $850.

But to make the car even cheaper and more accessible, Ford launched another innovation about five years later: the moving assembly line.  Piecing the car together in multiple stages along a conveyor belt meant the average assembly time dropped, productivity increased, Model T sales shot up and their cost came down below $300.

Today, in the quest to make transportation greener, a couple of innovative companies are turning Ford's model on its head.  For these companies, getting cleaner vehicles on the road isn't just about the ability to make cars that run on alternative fuels; it's about how and where these vehicles are made.

Can the 3-D Printer Help 'Green' the Auto Industry?

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