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Potential in Printing: IBIS 3D printing task force head lays out research goals and timeline

Toronto, Ontario — Parts shortages have become the new normal and yet 3D printing has yet to be adequately explored as a possible solution—until now, as the head of an IBIS task force tells media that the relatively new fabrication technology is next on his agenda.

Owner of Imagine Additive Consulting and IBIS-appointed task force leader, Harold Sears recently spoke with Repairer Driven News about how the industry research group is looking into the best use-cases for 3D printing in the automotive aftermarket.

“We are also seeking to provide a secondary solution for OEMs or parts suppliers who might need smaller part runs that are more cost-effective than traditional manufacturing and printed in the region where there is demand,” said Sears.

“This could include using 3D printing to create replacement parts, tools, and other components, as well as using the technology to improve the design and manufacturing of existing parts.

“At the same time to highlight any issues regarding suppliers or body shops using poor quality printed parts that are not designed for end-use application that can break down and cause the part to fail over time.”

He added that a testing regimen will be developed alongside industry associations and regulators to ensure that any new technology and practices meet OEM safety and regulatory requirements.

“Our goal will be to bring together the right providers from additive materials, system, and engineering who currently service the OEMs and their 3D printing needs in end use parts,” said Sears.

“Then replicate this winning formula to print such parts that will perform and have the characteristics similar to the original OEM parts and to use materials that are already accepted by the OEMs. This is the reason our task force contains not only members from automotive OEMs, but also members from key automotive material suppliers.”

The task force is expected to have its docket of work completed by early 2024, according to Sears.

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