Ford develops unique metal AM locking wheel nut designs based on driver’s voice

January 31, 2020

Ford develops unique metal AM locking wheel nut designs based on driver’s voice
Ford’s anti-theft wheel nuts, metal additively manufactured on an EOS machine (Courtesy EOS GmbH)

Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, USA, has partnered with EOS GmbH, Krailling, Germany, to develop a unique anti-theft locking wheel nut for its vehicles. The design concept uses the owners voice pattern to define the physical shape of the lock.  

According to the automotive manufacturer, as car security systems become increasingly more sophisticated thieves are targeting car parts instead, including alloy wheels. While current locking nuts can be used to deter theft by requiring a key to loosen them, they are not invulnerable.

Ford’s new locking wheel nut concept is designed using a recording of the drivers voice, speaking for a minimum of one second. The recording is then converted into a physical pattern based on the soundwave, which is used as the design for the locking nut’s indentation and key.

The nut and key are metal additively manufactured as one piece in stainless steel on an EOS machine. When complete, the two parts are separated, with a small amount of grinding being required to ready them for use.

The nut and key design also includes second level security features, which help to prevent the nut from being cloned or copied. Because the design features unevenly spaced ribs inside the nut and indentations that widen the deeper they go, a thief would be unable to make a wax imprint of the pattern as the wax would break when pulled from the nut.  

Ford stated that design options for the metal AM nuts and keys are not limited to the soundwave pattern. Other designs could include the driver’s initials, or patterns inspired by the driver’s interests, such as the outline of a famous racetrack.

Raphael Koch, Research Engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe, stated, “It’s one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone. Some alloy wheels can cost thousands to replace, but these unique rim nuts will stop thieves in their tracks. Making wheels more secure and offering more product personalisation are further proof that 3D printing is a game-changer for car production.”

www.ford.com

www.eos.info

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 176-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Metal AM in automotive: How the Czinger 21C is redefining next-generation car manufacturing
  • Buying time with digital spare parts: Opportunities for metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Burloak and the AM scalability challenge: A contract manufacturer’s perspective on the shift to volume production
  • Binder Jetting and beyond: Insights from Fraunhofer IFAM’s second workshop on sinter-based Additive Manufacturing
  • The inestimable value of AI: How Machine Learning can help AM project teams achieve their goals and beyond
  • The need for global standardisation: Takeaways from the Standards Forum at Formnext 2021
  • Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion: Process developments and numerical simulation
  • > More information

Latest news

    E-newsletter

    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap