Daimler develops inexpensive 3D printing process for metal hardware

  • TECH
  • Monday, 06 May 2019

The first spare part printed via the NextGenAM pilot project from Daimler is a retainer for a truck diesel engine.

Daimler announced that the NextGenAM project for developing an automated metallic 3D printing process has concluded; the results of the nearly two-year-long pilot project demonstrate that the cost of manufacturing aluminum parts could potentially be reduced by half.

The NextGenAM "Additive Manufacturing" (aka 3D printing) project was conducted by Daimler in partnership with Premium Aerotec and EOS.

When it was launched in May 2017, the purpose of the project was to "develop a digitalised next-generation manufacturing line which would be able to produce aluminum components for the automotive and aerospace sectors significantly more cost-effectively than is currently possible".

Daimler announced that the project had reached a successful conclusion. According to the company, the process has the potential to complement or even replace conventional manufacturing techniques and cut costs by up to 50% (when compared to traditional 3D printing systems).

In fact, no manual work is required at any stage of the process, aiding in the reduction of costs. The AM process is currently being used by Daimler's truck unit creating replacement brackets for truck diesel engines.

Generally speaking, this type of process is especially useful when a replacement part that is infrequently manufactured is needed, as processes using sand or pressure casting are expensive.

Likewise, AM is more cost-efficient for the company when developing limited-edition models. Because parts can be created "on demand," automotive and aerospace companies save on warehouse costs.

This process has the potential not only to save Daimler and its partners money previously spent on part manufacturing, but also to save the company – and whoever uses the system in the future – time and manpower. – AFP Relaxnews

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