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Ford, HP 3D Printer Waste Recycled

Ford, HP Flip 3D printer waste into recycled automotive supplies

Photo credit: Ford

In a first for recycled materials in the auto industry, Ford partnered with HP to transform 3D printer waste, powder and parts into injection molded vehicle parts.

Injection molded fuel line clips are made from the recycled materials and are first installed on Super Duty F-250 trucks. The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance than traditional versions, are 7% lighter and cost 10% less. The Ford research team has identified 10 more fuel line clips on existing vehicles that can use the material and migrate it to future models.

We’re the first to find a high quality use for waste powder that would likely have been landfilled and turned into functional and durable auto parts, says Debbie Mielewski, Ford Sustainability Technical Officer

Ford uses HP’s 3D printing technology in the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, where the team developed this no-waste solution.

“With 3D, you get more sustainable manufacturing processes,” said Ellen Jackowski, HP’s chief sustainability and social impact officer. She says the partnership with Ford expands the environmental benefits of 3D printing even further and brings together a wide variety of industries to make better use of used manufacturing materials.

How it works

Other companies are involved in the Ford project:

  • SmileDirectClub, which operates the largest facility of HP 3D printing systems in the US, collects and recycles used 3D printed parts with HP to increase volume for Ford.
  • Resin maker Lavergne is converting these molds and discarded powders from Ford’s HP 3D printers into recycled plastic pellets suitable for injection molding.
  • The pellets are then formed into fuel line clips by Ford supplier ARaymond, who designs, engineers and manufactures mounting systems.

Company-wide, Ford aims to use 100% sustainable materials in its vehicles.