Redford, Mich. — Ford Motor Co.'s upcoming Mustang Shelby GT500, which will be revealed next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will be made with two plastic 3D printed plastic brake parts from its new Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford.
On Dec. 4, the automaker showed off its 135,000-square-foot facility, where roughly 100 workers use augmented and virtual reality, robotics, digital manufacturing and 3D printing to hone Ford's vehicle-building processes. Ford invested $45 million in the center as CEO Jim Hackett leads a companywide restructuring that emphasizes faster product development.
"More than 100 years ago, Ford created the moving assembly line, forever changing how vehicles would be mass-produced," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations, said in a statement. "Today, we are reinventing tomorrow's assembly line -- tapping technologies once only dreamed of on the big screen -- to increase our manufacturing efficiency and quality."
The parts were originally made of stamped metal, with unique left and right hand designs, a Ford spokeswoman said. With design freedom from additive manufacturing, the two designs were combined into one unique design.
The part is made from an unspecific plastic with a liquid photopolymer that goes through both an ultra violet and thermo curing process.
Each car will have two brackets on each vehicle.
Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford has 23 3D printers on site at the Redford site and it is working with 10 3D manufacturing companies.
"This allows Ford experts to develop applications with different materials -- from sand to nylon powder to carbon," a company statement noted, adding that one application currently in development could potentially save the company $2 million.