Automation seems to know no boundaries and the latest manufacturer to show its hand – CNH Industrial – sees self-driving tractors as the future for boosting production and improving productivity.
The company, whose brands include Case IH, New Holland and Steyr, says the process is “part of a continual drive to streamline manufacturing processes, increase productivity and find more sustainable ways of working”.
3-D printing makes components from a digital file to build up layers of material under control; each completed part is subject to stringent testing to ensure it meets the CNH Industrial specification.
Each ‘printed’ part is created in 24 - 36 hours with optimal use of raw materials -- in contrast to traditional manufacturing processes. 3-D printing causes less waste or surplus material and minimises machine downtime.
Plastic is the manufacturing medium of the moment, but metallic parts are expected to emerge from testing.
A key benefit of 3-D is local, on-demand manufacturing of spare parts, leading to better stock management, particularly if small volumes of uncommon parts are required urgently.