Additive manufacturing case research: versatile and exact

Additive manufacturing is opening up new strains of enterprise and supporting elevated productiveness. By Jordi Priu and Borja Batlle

Mobility has all the time been an trade of evolution, and the previous 75 years have introduced many developments. Extra just lately, COVID and its ensuing provide chain challenges have supercharged the pace of change, and in consequence, the automotive trade is transferring at a extra speedy tempo than ever earlier than.

Immediately, mobility is centred round power and sustainability. Whereas shoppers and society proceed to demand decrease emissions, the electrical car (EV) trade will continue to grow. Nevertheless, we consider EVs won’t ever make up greater than 50-60% of the general market. The infrastructure round EV continues to be not there, and it’s only a matter of time till different sustainability ‘champions’ emerge, similar to hydrogen-based applied sciences.

Unlocking additive manufacturing’s potential

To maintain up with this development of transformation and re-invention in mobility, suppliers have to be versatile and able to meet the demanding timelines and budgets thrown at them by automotive OEMs. Applied sciences like additive manufacturing (AM) may help suppliers shorten lead occasions and sustain with the ceaselessly altering manufacturing forecasts from the OEMs.

Additive manufacturing
How would possibly additive manufacturing assist suppliers place for future mobility challenges?

AM offers suppliers the chance to be as versatile as doable to fulfill theses altering market wants. It helps to speed up processes, vastly slicing down part supply time to weeks relatively than months—and in some instances, even an on-demand. Having that ‘crimson button’ to push is an actual promoting level across the energy of AM. Suitable simulation software program additionally permits producers to know how their elements will carry out inside an engine earlier than they occasion print them.

Optimum functions for achievement

As with all expertise, AM is best suited to some duties than others. For instance, we’ve discovered it ideally suited to producing jigs, instruments, and different particular person and extremely specialised elements. Given its general flexibility through the design and manufacturing course of, AM can assist a major discount partly growth from begin to end. It additionally allows elements to be produced to verify the standard, and fixtures might be designed and created with out having to machine something.

To make sure sure functions are properly suited to the expertise and that customers are getting probably the most worth from AM, it’s important to know its challenges and limitations in addition to its strengths. Finally, it must assist the top aim—to have the ability to design, print, course of and promote elements.

Making certain 3D printed parts and fixtures are the proper weight to go a vibration check is one instance of problem that must be overcome to fulfill this goal. Designing new management instruments and washers to assist cut back the prices and timings related to new tasks is one other. With the ability to print and validate them to simulate meeting and mounting throughout manufacturing means firms can supply an actual benefit—particularly in instances the place fixtures might be designed and printed in solely a matter of some weeks.

For example, in our Romanian manufacturing unit we produce a fixture for checking rubber sleeves. We used a Markforged X7 3D printer to create an inside mechanism contained in the fixture with a worm gear. Due to the high-precision construct, the fixture is ready to verify the utmost deviation of 1.0mm on the tube ends. This exercise, which determines the precision for locating an element’s tolerance, has saved 60% of the full time for the cycle. Furthermore, these kinds of mechanisms can’t be included utilizing conventional strategies. It’s only with composite fixtures produced utilizing AM processes that these outcomes are doable.

There may be a substantial amount of worth in serving to prospects establish the areas of their worth chain the place AM has the best potential. Participating specialised engineering groups, coupled with the perfect additive manufacturing expertise to analyse designs may help firms to attain optimum outcomes.

Manufactura Moderna de Metales (MMM)
Manufactura Moderna de Metales (MMM) has discovered quite a few benefits to 3D printing

Discovering the appropriate accomplice

To enhance fixture machining processes like the instance described above, it is very important choose the appropriate AM accomplice. The {hardware} itself is just one a part of the equation. It’s additionally essential to discover a printer that may create robust, light-weight elements utilizing supplies appropriate for the automotive trade. Training can be important, so discovering a accomplice than can present assist as the corporate learns to create the appropriate designs for the appropriate functions, and improve its  understanding of the machine, the expertise and what it will probably do, is pivotal.

Earlier than deciding which supplier to work with, it is usually essential to analyse the choices and perform exams. Ease of use, precision and flexibility are all important parts the appropriate 3D printer ought to present—as is its potential to cut back the end-to-end time for growing elements. Preventative upkeep also needs to stay high of thoughts in relation to printing elements. The accuracy of the printing methods and particular DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) methods will all the time assist to make sure robust outcomes. together with excessive precision charges with minimal deviations.

For Manufactura Moderna de Metales (MMM), it’s ADDiVAL—along with Markforged—that ticked all of those bins. Its X7 printer has proved to be versatile in serving to produce high-precision and intensely robust elements in a brief time frame. Initially, the printer was used to fabricate prototypes of parts. Immediately, it’s used to design and produce the ultimate parts immediately within the manufacturing unit, attributable to its potential to create steady fibre reinforcement through the manufacturing course of. We have now additionally just lately added the Metallic X printer to our AM expertise portfolio.

The long run is right here

In terms of mobility, we discover ourselves in a brand new period of innovation and implementation. The general flexibility and precision of AM is opening up new strains of enterprise, in addition to serving to to assist elevated productiveness and half dimension for part producers within the automotive sector.

Whereas there’s nonetheless progress to be made in accelerating using extra sustainable supplies, the trade is targeted on making elements smaller, extra environment friendly and with much less waste. As such, we are going to proceed to see new and specialised alternatives for AM throughout the globe. Producers won’t solely construct instruments for inside use, however we’ll additionally see growing volumes of elements being constructed on-demand for end-use functions, additional accelerating the pace of change and innovation in an ever-evolving trade.

The opinions expressed listed below are these of the creator and don’t essentially replicate the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Jordi Priu is Chief Government of Manufactura Moderna de Metales (MMM) and Borja Batlle is Basic Supervisor of ADDiVAL

The Remark column is open to automotive trade determination makers and influencers. If you need to contribute a Remark article, please contact


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