SPE Names First AM Winner in Automotive Innovation Awards Competition

SPE’s Automotive Division added Additive Manufacturing as a category for 2018. The first winning application used 3D printing to create a window alignment fixture.


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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has announced the winners of its 48th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. For the first time, the 2018 competition awarded a winner in the category of Additive Manufacturing.

Stratasys and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing together manufactured a window alignment fixture for the 2017 Ford Motor Co. Mustang convertible sports car. This fixture integrated pneumatic control, eyelets for a stowage rack, trigger switch housing, ergonomic handles, gage protector deflector and pneumatic tubing retainers, and switch mounts. It was 3D-printed with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) from PA 12 with 35 percent fill of short carbon fiber.

The 3D-printed fixture was 30 percent lighter and cheaper to produce than a traditional welded fixture. It was also faster to manufacture, requiring only 50 hours to build the integrated fixture with handles and mounting brackets. The plastic tool enabled easier handling and avoided the need for a lift assist, improving ergonomics.