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GM 3D parts plan could spark electric cars

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Jeff Tyson

Car manufacturer General Motors announced Thursday it has been working with design software company Autodesk Inc to develop lightweight 3D printed parts for its vehicles. The move has the potential to cut costs and give a boost to the electric vehicle industry according to an automotive sector expert at Cornell University.

Art Wheaton

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute

Arthur Wheaton is a professor of labor at Cornell University and an expert on the automotive sector. He says 3D printing provides many advantages to car manufacturers by cutting delays, improving quality and saving weight.

Wheaton says:

“The automotive industry has been working on 3D printing for many years. There are strategic advantages to having the ability to print out parts as opposed to manufacturing and shipping them. One key advantage is less need for inventory and delays in delivery. Having quality parts on demand provides flexibility and savings.

“The fact that these parts can be higher quality and have additional strength is attractive as well. These high-quality 3D printers could be sent orders electronically to print out parts as needed. The weight savings of these parts is an advantage in electric and hybrid vehicles.” 

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.