How Your Voice And 3D Printing Can Keep Car Thieves At Bay

Fri 7th Feb 2020

If you’ve ever suffered the pain of seeing your prized alloy wheels stolen then engineers at Ford Europe may have come up with a innovative new solution to creating anti-theft locking wheel nuts.

By combining amazing technology which shapes the contours of your voice and the very latest in 3D printing, Ford, in partnership with EOS, have created locking nuts which are as unique and distinctive as someone’s iris scan or fingerprint.

By using a very short soundbyte, from someone saying ‘I drive a Ford Mustang’, Ford’s technicians can use software which turns that soundwave into a physical, printable pattern which then turned into a circle and used as the locking nut’s indentation and key.

The system is made even more difficult to clone or copy as the unevenly spaced ribs inside the nut widen the deeper they go to prevent a thief making a wax imprint on them.

The nuts could be customised in a variety different ways, to include logos, initials or even the driver’s favourite racetrack.

“It’s one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone,” said Raphael Koch, resaerch engineer at Ford of Europe.

“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.”

Ford has been employing 3D printing technology for more than 30 years to help reduce the development time for new vehicles.