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Ford Develops Quick Prototyping Technique for Sheet Metal

It can create parts 60 times faster than the conventional way

 
 
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The system uses two tools opposite each other to create a part

FordFordFordUnited States of America, 1903 > present92 models
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has developed and patented a new quick-prototyping technique for sheet metal that reduces prices and build time for small quantities of a part.

Ford calls new technique Ford Freeform Fabrication Technology, and it involves clamping a piece of sheet metal around a 3D shape and two computer-controlled tools working to form the metal into that shape. Ford generally creates the part first in plastic using a 3D printer.

Instead of traditional stamping that requires creating dies, the technology can create new parts in three days instead of the months. Ford thinks it could even be ready for low-volume vehicles soon.

Ford created the new technology with a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in coordination with several universities and Boeing.

“As we forge ahead with cutting-edge technologies in manufacturing like flexible body shops, robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality and others, we want to push the envelope with new innovations like F3T to make ourselves more efficient and build even better products,” said John Flemming, Ford’s head of global manufacturing.

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