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3D Printing and its Implications for the Auto Industry


For as long as cars have existed, three fundamental truths appeared to be eternal. First, every car contains safety critical components, second these components are mostly metal and third, they are manufactured by one of two methods—stamping or cold forming. These eternal truths always led to an equally durable legal reality, that if the safety critical component fails the manufacturer will be liable to the injured party.


It’s hard to think of a more trite and dependable set of principles. But these timeless precepts are about to become disrupted as the automotive industry continues to explore the innovation of 3D printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is attractive to automobile manufacturers and other entities looking to expand their footprint in the industry because of its unique advantages—namely reduced costs, reduced times for production, and customization. With these novel benefits, however, come unprecedented liability questions. Imaginary Case Study To demonstrate this let’s take an imaginary future scenario. A driver takes his truck in for service and discovers that it needs new brake discs. Unfortunately, these are out of stock […]

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