Though the automotive industry has long utilized 3D printing technology, its potential in end-part production and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations has been underutilized. While companies like BMW are developing automated additive manufacturing (AM) lines for car components, MRO applications lag behind. Harold Sears, a Ford veteran and 3D printing expert, emphasized the importance of standards and quality control for applying AM in auto repair. This need prompted Sears and others to launch the 3D Printing in Auto Repair Task Force with the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS).

Following the Task Force’s report on the state of AM in auto repair published in October 2023, progress has been anticipated in this crucial segment. At the IBIS Worldwide event in Greece, a new business named Auto Additive emerged, leveraging the Task Force’s expertise and technology to address AM for auto repair.

Auto Additive debuted publicly alongside partners HP,, 4Plastic Inc., and GKN Additive, showcasing 3D printed tools, jigs, and repair parts. Notably, they introduced an “industry-first” weldable and attachable headlight repair tab kit, available exclusively on

Specializing in 3D scanning and reverse engineering, Auto Additive partners with companies like GKN to offer comprehensive 3D printing services and materials. This includes CAD file management protected by blockchain technology for IP security and part traceability. At IBIS, Auto Additive demonstrated several innovative repair solutions made with 3D printing. These included a plastic repair push tool designed to enhance repair precision and efficiency while reducing labor time and costs compared to traditional methods. Additionally, the company showcased metal 3D printed bumper side tab jigs that can be attached as needed, minimizing the need for complete bumper replacements. The 3D printed weld-on polypropylene tabs for headlights allow for restoration to industry standards without full replacement, thus saving costs and reducing waste.

Auto Additive’s advisory board features industry experts like Harold Sears; Aaron DeLong from HP, specializing in automotive 3D printing in plastics; Lior Polak, CEO of Assembrix, with expertise in blockchain-based 3D printing software; Mario Dimovski, an innovator in automotive plastic repairs and digital transformation in collision repair; and Dallas Martin from Toyota, who leads the additive division with extensive experience in AM technologies for automotive manufacturing.

Given the expertise of the Task Force members, Auto Additive is poised for significant growth. For instance, Würth Additive’s new Digital Inventory Solutions could be implemented to provide virtual warehousing of replacement parts for the auto industry. The potential for AM in MRO operations suggests that it may become a crucial application for the 3D printing industry. If it succeeds in the automotive sector, it could be applied across various industries, revolutionizing the way repairs and maintenance are conducted globally.

By Impact Lab