BMW is 3D printing finger cots

BMW is reportedly 3D printing a limited number of flexible finger cots for workers on certain production lines to prevent excess strain on thumb joints.


According to 3DERs, the cots were designed in cooperation with the Department of Ergonomics at the Technical University of Munich. Fabricated in-house with 3D printing, each of the flexible assembly aids is a unique piece, precisely customized to the match the form and size of a worker’s hand.


“In order to prevent the unnecessary overstretching of the thumb joint, the company developed the finger cots made of thermoplastic polyurethane which are put over the thumb like a second skin,” 3DERs reported.


“Thermoplastic polyurethane is perfectly suited to making flexible orthotic devices. As a rule, it is elastic, but forms solid and rigid combinations at higher material strengths. The mechanical tensile strength is high, ensuring that the material can resist also strong, continuous strains without tearing.”

According to a BMW rep, the initial feedback from workers is quite positive. As such, the company says it is evaluating how the cots can be applied as standard tools in addition production areas.


As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical spherearchitectural arenascience lab and even on the battlefield.

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  1. Pingback: 3D printing BMW concept cars | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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