Since the General Motors Lansing Delta Township assembly plant bought a $35,000 3D printer, they’ve seen savings of €300,000 in two years. However, the company expects to see savings of millions of dollars in the future as it standardizes the technology throughout its plants across the globe.
All over the world, companies are relying on 3D printing to help speed up production and save money. General Motors (GM), the American multinational automaker, is no different.
Since the company employed 3D printing, it has been able to streamline operations as well as save money. Most of GM’s factories already have 3D printers but the company is now expanding on this since noticing just how much money the technology can save.
In fact, a 3D printer which cost $35,000 two years ago at GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant (which produces the Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse) has saved the company over $300,000. The printer was used to create tools and other accessories, explains Zane Meike, the additive manufacturing lead at the facility.
Dan Grieshaber, GM’s director of global manufacturing integration adds: “We’re quickly evolving, creating real value for the plant… This will become, as we progress, our footprint. We’ll have this in every one of our sites.”
Savings from tools and prototyping can make a huge difference to a global manufacturing footprint. By purchasing a 3D printer for every site, the company believes it’ll see even bigger savings in the coming years.
Spending $35,000 to Save $300,000
Of course, for a company such as GE, $35,000 isn’t a huge investment. But, the savings that the technology offers aren’t to be sniffed at. For example, the company was paying a third party $3,000 for a tool to align engine and transmission vehicle ID numbers. However, they’ve since found this part can be 3D printed for less than $3.
The Lansing Delta Township plant initially bought the 3D printer to create kitting boxes for parts. But, it wasn’t long before the machine was printing a whole range of different items due to employee requests.
Items being printed aren’t only helping the company save money, they’re also improving safety. For example, a few safety prints include socket covers and hangers for parts.
Grieshaber adds that the company is working on standardizing the 3D printing throughout all of its plants. The implementation of this technology is an important part of a bigger project which GM calls “smart manufacturing” or “Manufacturing 4.0”.
For this, a range of new tools and manufacturing processes are also being implemented. Think collaborative robots which work safely around humans, drones, and big data.
Want to find out more about 3D printing at GM? Check out how they’re working with Autodesk to create lighter vehicles in the video below or on All3DP.
Source: Automotive News Europe