Pictured is the Strati by Local Motors. It is the World’s First Co-Created 3D Printed Electric Vehicle at Local Motors’ DDM Microfactory in Knoxville, TN. Photo by: Thomas Zachary / Local Motors
By: Jenna Burns / Local Motors
Local Motors is reinventing the manufacturing process by bringing the technology to build 3D-printed cars to the Valley of East Tennessee.
Later this year, Local Motors will begin to 3D-print electric vehicles through a process called DDM (Direct Digital Manufacturing) in a brand new facility in Knoxville. The structure is complete and it will come fully online this fall. Local Motors started building their first DDM Microfactory last April. Over the next 5 years, Local Motors plans to build 50 Microfactories around the world which will bring a hundred jobs to each local location.
Local Motors is an innovative technology company that designs, builds, and sells vehicles. From bytes-to-bits, the Local Motors platform combines global co-creation with local micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations, like the world’s first 3D-printed car, to market at unprecedented speed.
Sustainability is a huge part of what Local Motors stands for, and you can see that in the way we build cars through direct digital manufacturing.
DDM is a manufacturing process that uses 3D CAD (computer-aided design) files to produce physical parts by using additive technology via a 3D printer. Here are some other terms that come to mind, “3D printing,” “additive,” “rapid,” “on demand,” and “instant” manufacturing. There are major sustainability advantages to using DDM compared with traditional manufacturing. Traditional vehicle manufacturing takes massive amounts of time, labor and money to create molds, machinery and parts. Unlike traditional vehicle manufacturing methods, which produce a massive amount of waste, DDM creates the shape precisely and instantly all while maintaining minimum levels of energy usage. Because Local Motors is using DDM, there is little to no tooling costs and it takes only 48 hours to print a full-sized vehicle.
In today’s fastpaced world, people want things now. Local Motors can meet those expectations in a way that traditional manufacturing cannot. People are demanding and Local Motors is demand driven. DDM is an efficient process that is constantly being developed as we speak.
DDM guarantees material waste is minimal as products are only produced on demand. In addition, much of the material we use to print vehicles is recyclable.
Local Motors’ long-term goal is to build the world’s first truly cradle-to-cradle sustainable vehicles. We want these cars to have a net-zero environmental impact, and we plan to achieve that by looking at how we build cars in a very different way.
We view vehicles as upgradable hardware, as opposed to disposable products to replace every few years.
Is 3D printing sustainable? You bet. If you would like to participate in our global cocreated community, you can join for free at Localmotors.com. You too, can play a role in designing sustainable green electric vehicles locally.