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Additive Manufacturing Gives Car Buyers a Voice

February 24, 2020 / Peter Fretty

As alloy wheels and vehicle customization have grown in popularity, component theft has unfortunately become a lucrative side business. It’s one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone, says Raphael Koch, research engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe. Some alloy wheels can cost thousands to replace, but these unique rim nuts will stop thieves in their tracks. Making wheels more secure and offering more product personalization are further proof that 3D printing is a game-changer for car production. Ford engineers wanted to helps customers find a solution – specifically by designing a theft resistant lug nut. The project was the result of an ideation session focused on finding applications for additive manufacturing within the company. We did the first prototype ourselves and filed the patent for it. And as soon as the patent was granted, we looked for partners to help further develop this this appl...