Ford Motor Company produced this video of its process for forming sheet metal directly from the CAD model, without any need for a die. Robots from FANUC Robotics use a stylus to shape the sheet metal into the desired form. Parts that otherwise might have required months of leadtime for die tooling can be manufactured within days of being designed.
Eliminating tooling is a theme with Ford. We have also covered the company’s use of 3D printing in sand to eliminate patterns in prototype casting.