Why it matters: Ford and HP have teamed up to create a more sustainable production line for the F-250. The companies have found that 3D printer waste, including plastic and powder, can be recycled to make injection molded vehicle parts for the F-250 that are lighter, cheaper, more chemical-resistant, and most importantly, more sustainable.
It’s a great example of two companies from distinctly different industries working together to become more sustainable. Ford and HP use waste plastic and powder from 3D printers to create injection molded fuel line clips for the Super Duty F-250. Dental company SmileDirectClub, which has a small army of 3D printers that make dental aligners, also contributes to the environmentally friendly production line.
The printer’s waste is apparently being passed on to a few other companies – Lavergne and ARaymond – who turn the recycled material into tank clips.
It is impressive that the recycled tank clips made from 3D printer waste are 7% lighter, 10% cheaper and more resistant to chemicals and moisture than their non-recycled predecessors, according to Ford.
Debbie Mielewski, a Ford Technical Associate, said, “A lot of companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but together with HP we are the first to find a high quality use for waste powder that would likely have been landfilled and turn it into functional and durable auto parts. “The Ford research team has identified 10 other existing vehicles that could benefit from this use of materials and are migrating them to future models.