Current Projects in a Nutshell
New Techniques for Innovative Part Forming
There is a growing need for automobiles among densely populated urban populations around the world. At the same time, customers are making increasingly diverse demands of carmakers regarding what they want in a vehicle. Purchasers of luxury brands like Infiniti are particularly demanding, and manufacturers must prepare a full range of options to satisfy them.
Using mass-production factory methods to make small lots of custom parts is an expensive proposition, though, making it hard to satisfy all customer demands. Vitchuda Lertphokanont, a researcher from Thailand, has come to Japan to explore ways to develop new production methods better suited to small lots. “In the automotive industry, in order to create a hood or panel for the car, we use a die,” she explains. “But it’s very expensive to create a die. So now we’re developing die-less forming, a technology like 3D printing, to eliminate the die. These new tools use 3D data to form the shapes that we want at a much lower cost, and we can put them to work in Nissan’s existing factories right away.”