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I actually did a story on the Urbee a while back and to my knowledge, it was (at that point) the first vehicle to use 3D printing to produce not just individual components, but the bulk of the vehicle body. My understanding was that KOR Logic was just leveraging 3D printing for the efficient production of prototypes, not production vehicles. I don't think the technology is there yet.
Beth, I think you hit the nail on the head. The real value of additive manufacturing lies in its potential for customization. This is of obvious use in medical and dental applications, where prostheses can be custom made for the recipient's body. But I was less impressed by the 1/6 scale model car. Is this really the first model car made using a 3D printer? Am I missing something?
Also - and more importantly - is Urbee's plan to use 3D printing to make body panels for the production vehicle? There are big differences in material properties between FRP and ABS. ABS does not have anywhere near the strength and stiffness of FRP. I would be very concerned about the safety of this vehicle if the plan is really to use ABS in production.
Informative piece that really gives you a sense of the range of what additive manufacturing is capable of. I think Doug's reporting around how additive manufacturing advances are going to facilitate mass customization is really the crux of why this technology has so much potential and why there's so much interest across sectors and particularly in the medical and dental care markets. Being able to cost-effectively produce hearing aids and dental implants that are customized to the individual patient will go a long way in making devices that have been too expensive or too uncomfortable to wear part of patients' daily care.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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