Ford recycling HP 3D printer powder waste into auto components

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Dearborn, Michigan – Ford is working with HP to recycle spent spending 3D printed powder and partsClose the loop and turn them into injection molded vehicle parts.

Sustainability is a priority for both companies, which through joint exploration resulted in this unlikely, environmentally friendly solution. The resulting injection molded parts are more environmentally friendly without compromising durability or quality standards.

Injection molded fuel line clips are made from the recycled materials and are first installed on 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 could benefit from this powder recycling.

“Finding new ways to use sustainable materials, reduce waste and drive the development of the circular economy are passions at Ford,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford Sustainability Technical Officer. “Many companies are Finding great uses for 3D printing technologiesBut along with HP, 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. ”

Ford Motor Co.

Fuel line clips for Ford F-250 pickups use plastics recycled by HP 3D printers.

HP 3D printers are already engineered to be efficient, with systems and structures in place to minimize the excess material they create and reuse a greater percentage of the materials they contain. Working with Ford, which uses HP’s 3D printing technology in the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, the team developed this no-waste solution.

“3D gives you more sustainable manufacturing processes, but we’re always looking to do more to advance our industry and find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle powders and parts,” said Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer from HP. “Our collaboration with Ford extends the environmental benefits of 3D printing even further and shows how we are bringing together completely different industries to make better use of used manufacturing materials and enable a new circular economy.”

Ford develops new applications and uses multiple processes and Materials for 3D printingincluding filaments, sand, powder, and liquid container polymerization. The enterprise already employs 3D printing for a wide variety of low volume commercial vehicle parts as well as jigs and fixtures used by assembly line workers to save time and improve quality.

“One of the keys to achieving our sustainability goals and solving society’s broader problems is working with other like-minded companies – we cannot do this alone,” said Mielewski. “With HP we have defined the waste problem, solved technical challenges and found a solution in less than a year that we are all proud of.”

Three other companies helped Ford and HP with the project:

  • SmileDirectClubThe oral care company with a medtech platform for straightening teeth operates the largest facility for HP 3D printing systems in the USA. The company’s fleet of more than 60 HP 3D printers produces more than 40,000 aligners daily. The resulting used 3D printed parts are collected and recycled with HP to add volume for Ford.
  • LavergneThe resin maker is a long-time HP recycling partner that converts molds and discarded powders from Ford’s HP 3D printers into high quality recycled plastic pellets suitable for injection molding.
  • ARaymond designs, constructs and manufactures assembly systems.