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How Do Domestic Automobile Manufacturers Use 3D Printers?

June 21, 2020

Other organizations, such as NASA, have been using 3D printing for prototypes and functional components, long before the rest of the world realized the impact decades later in almost every major industrial application. As a user of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, Continental automotive division is a good example of the long-term development of the automobile industry.

How Do Domestic Automobile Manufacturers Use 3D Printers?-01

With a market value of about $18.5 billion, Continental is a German multinational auto parts manufacturer specializing in electronic products. Safety, powertrain and chassis components; brake system, tires, etc. Its customers are all over automobile, truck and bus companies, including Volkswagen, Ford, Volvo, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Porsche, etc.

Like every automaker, the company has been using additive manufacturing for design and prototyping for some time, but now it's taking technology to a new level. Just last year, the German based company opened an additive design (Adam) capability center at its Karben plant. Adam currently uses five different 3D printing technologies:

·Selective laser melting (SLM)

·Selective laser sintering (SLS)

·Stereolithography (SLA)

·Digital light processing (DLP)

·Fused deposition modeling (FDM)

With the company's automotive and engineering departments established in 1871 working closely together, they were able to take advantage of plastic and metal materials to put 3D printing into practice.

For Continental, this means cost savings, more efficient manufacturing processes, and easy design and change without waiting for a third party, and most importantly, for many industrial users, the ability to produce complex geometry technologies that are traditionally not possible.

How Do Domestic Automobile Manufacturers Use 3D Printers?-02

Previously, the continental team was able to make more durable brake calipers: often, this pattern comes from sand casting. It will take about 14 weeks. 3D printed parts can be finished in less than a week. " Stefan kammann, head of additive design and manufacturing, explained. "In principle, all weldable metals, such as aluminum, stainless steel and tool steel, titanium or to some extent copper, can be printed."

The team found that this is the fastest route and the most similar route to the "series technology", usually through selective laser sintering (SLS) to print plastics in the group. Materials such as PA12 and PA6 are commonly used, and polypropylene is used as parts such as brake fluid containers.

As 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes continue to have an impact around the world and progress due to user demand, Continental also sees this growth with further improvements in software, hardware and materials. Parts orders that used to take up to 40 hours to produce may now take only 60 minutes.

In the past, when using hammers and chisels to knock down the support frame from the lattice platform, care must be taken not to tear off any part of the model. This material is so solid that the process is very accurate and can be used to obtain a good surface.

3D printing also allows options for multiple parts at a time and uses a variety of materials, such as ABS, PLA, TPU and other plastics.

Next year, the continental aviation team plans to complete a large order for 9500 parts manufacturers - all parts will be printed in 3D. Industrial users continue to enjoy the positive impact of 3D printing technology and additive manufacturing process in many other applications, such as aerospace, dental and medical, construction, etc.

Sources from: https://creality3dpro.store/blogs/news