The automotive industry has one of the most complex supply chains due to globalization, consumer demands, trends, stricter environmental regulations, and changes in manufacturing. The complexity has led to shortened vehicle life cycles and stricter vehicle production schedules. With the average vehicle consisting of 30,000 parts, one delay in a section of the supply chain can result in a production line shut down. Suppliers are expected to find ways to reduce costs while sourcing parts of high quality in a short period.
Additive manufacturing allows for the automotive industry to receive parts on-demand in a short period inexpensively. Instead of investing in expensive molds that may not work, the automotive industry can use 3D printing for rapid prototyping. With rapid prototyping, parts can be produced lighter, reducing the weight of the automotive.
With the consumer interest increasing in customization of parts, 3D printing is well suited for this need. Another added benefit with customization is the ability to restore vintage cars that could not have been restored any other way.