We talked about our awesome Fortus 900mc upgrade from Stratasys last Autumn, but what does this mean for our Automotive capabilities?
With over twenty-five different engineering-grade print materials on offer, our recent upgrade puts us in an even better place to meet the specific needs of the Automotive industry. For a number of years, 3D printing has offered cost effective and, most importantly, quick solutions to the production of automotive prototypes and custom designs.
Take Audi. The German automotive manufacturer has used 3D printing technology for years – in 2017 they even launched their own 3D printing centre in Inglostadt. The advantages of 3D print technology in this context are particularly useful in the manufacture of complex or rare parts. Key factors of price, turnaround speed, quality and quantity need not be compromised. Traditionally, manufacturing bespoke or complex functional parts would mean high cost and low volume at a snail’s pace. 3D printing has turned this on its head. It’s also enables these key advantages to be available to small start-ups as well as industry giants.
In the luxury market, automotive manufacturers such as Rolls Royce are capitalising on 3D printing too, using it for custom models. Every vehicle Rolls Royce produce is bespoke, historically this meant that each model could take up to 7 months to leave their factory. 3D printing is making significant changes to how companies approach customisation. It has the ability to put the customer in the driving seat – literally and figuratively. Although 3D printed parts have been limited to plastic components, Rolls Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös anticipates a much greater role for Additive Manufacturing, stating in an article on 3D Printing Industry, that the company’s long -goal is to “print bigger parts; maybe even bodies are possible.’’
It’s an exciting time for the automotive industry and the 3D printing world. Additive Manufacturing lends itself well to this sector and we’re starting to see greater and more diverse uptake of our capabilities.
Our Lab can now offer materials such as: ASA, ABS-M30, ABSi, ABS-ESD7, PC-ABS, FDM Nylon 12, FDM nylon 6, PPSF, ST-130, Ultem 1010, Ultem 9085 and Ultem 9085 Certified. These can all be used to quickly produce multiple parts that are durable, reliable, hard-wearing and high performing. Our 3D Production Engineer, Jake Augur, is enthusiastic about the benefits of 3D printing for the automotive industry: ‘’One of the main benefits is the ability to duplicate a design. 3D printing provides a quick way of prototyping engineering designs which negates the need for traditional moulds. It’s far quicker and the cost of manufacture is significantly reduced in comparison with traditional methods. Stratasys are pioneers. They’re developing new engineering materials all the time and also produce the highest standard materials for the industry. 3D printing is responsive, offers greater flexibility and with more and more materials being produced all the time, it brings huge benefits to the automotive industry. Just look at how Nylon 12 Carbon Fibre is replacing aluminium in cars. It’s an exciting time!’’
As 3D printing develops and grows, there are more options than ever to support or even entirely replace some traditional methods of manufacturing. The future of making is here!