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Audi harnesses SLM Solutions metal 3D printing for spare parts and prototypes

SLM Solutions has revealed automotive giant, Audi has been using its selective laser melting process to produce prototypes and manufacture rarely-requested spare parts.

The German company has sought to adopt SLM’s metal 3D printing technology to target a number of automotive applications. Typically, it is the smaller, more complex, and less cost-sensitive components, like the water adapters for the Audi W12 engine, which are produced on-demand by Audi with an SLM 280 machine, that are most suitable to be additively manufactured.

Audi has been utilising metal additive manufacturing for special application areas, able to manufacture sizable components on the 280 x 280 x 365 mm3 build space. Thanks to the machines’ powerful 700W lasers build times are reduced, enhancing productivity while maintaining quality. It is enabling Audi to manufacture on-demand, supplying spare parts as and when they are needed, rather than producing them in advance and putting them into storage. Simplifying logistics and warehousing, implementing an on-demand production approach brings both economical and sustainability benefits, in addition to the rapid prototyping and greater creative freedom 3D printing technology is renowned for.

“The new constructive freedoms provided by this technology are especially interesting,” Harald Eibisch, in the Technology Development Department at AUDI AG, said. “Components for prototypes and spare parts requested extremely rarely are better suited for SLM processes than conventional manufacturing procedures thanks to the benefits of free geometric design. The load capacity of the components is comparable with parts manufactured using traditional methods.”

“According to a rule of thumb, a component is suitable for 3D printing when it is smaller, complex and not very cost-sensitive,” added Ruben Heid, from the Technology Development Department at Audi AG. “The additive process provides us with plenty of leeway, for example, if a component is to handle additional functions such as cooling or current. The new procedure also provides benefits in weight reduction.”

The water adapter of the W12 engine, SLM and Audi say, is a fine example of 3D printing setting no limits in terms of loads. They have seen no direct disadvantage in the material properties, and even highly stressed parts, such as pistons, can be printed. Because material is applied layer by layer, the microstructure can be specifically influenced via which the mechanical properties differ significantly from conventionally produced components.

Audi Gains 3D Printing Partner

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The 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus groupMore and more automakers are turning to 3D printers for unique car parts and design. Audi is one of the latest to join the crowd, creating a partnership with 3D printing company EOS, which is based in Germany like the automaker. According to the blog 3D Printing Industry, EOS is one of the world’s largest 3D printing companies, so they are more than ready to handle the orders Audi might throw at them.

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Audi’s announcement may make consumers wonder what parts in their car might be made by a 3D printer. Rest easy, because Audi is planning on using EOS’s services for prototypes and equipment and for helping motor sports teams (where Audi already utilizes 3D printing). Other automakers also use 3D printers to recreate classic parts for retro cars in their collection, so it’s not uncommon for these relationships to be used more for unique projects instead of production line use.

Audi and EOS will be creating a shared workspace in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, to make collaboration easier. It’s also the same own where Audi has its main plant (and the second largest car factory in Europe), so it will be a breeze for Audi engineers to communicate with EOS. For those keeping track of what Audi is working on off of the roadway (and out of this world), it is being rumored that this partnership will help Audi develop its Audi Lunar Quattro Rover.

This partnership was announced soon after the German government encouraged more investment in digital technology that could be useful for traditional manufacturing and industry. Maybe we will see more technology being brought to Audi thanks to this directive.

News Source: 3D Printing Industry

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Audi takes additive manufacturing efforts up a gear with new EOS development partnership

Jan 25, 2017 | By Benedict

Car manufacturer Audi AG has started a development partnership with additive manufacturing specialist EOS that will see the latter providing additive systems and training to the former. Audi plans to 3D print tools, geometrically complex inserts for die casting molds, and more.

The EOS M 400 additive manufacturing system

Like most major car manufacturers, respected German automaker Audi has dabbled in additive manufacturing over the last few years, be it for the production of topologically optimized metal parts using SLM Solutions 3D printers, or for indulging in less serious activities like building a half-scale 1936 Auto Union Type C race car. Excitingly, a newly announced development partnership between the auto giant and fellow German company EOS could spark the ignition of a more comprehensive additive manufacturing strategy for Audi.

According to a press release, the EOS consulting division “Additive Minds” will be supporting Audi as it implements industrial 3D printing technology and develops a new 3D printing center in Ingolstadt, where the car manufacturer is headquartered. “The aim is to not only supply Audi with the right additive systems and processes but to also support them during applications development, when building up internal AM knowledge and training their engineers to become in-house AM experts,” said Güngör Kara, Director of Global Application and Consulting at EOS.

While the partnership is no doubt exciting news for the auto industry and fans of Audi’s distinctive vehicles, the new additive manufacturing facilities being implemented at Ingolstadt will not yet be used to make fully additive 3D printed cars. Instead, Audi will focus its early efforts on items such as 3D printed tools, with the company’s casting technical center also planning to make full use of the equipment, which “will make possible the production of [single-part] geometries that would have to be joined in conventional manufacturing.” Prototpyes and simple equipment, as well as small parts for motor sports vehicles, will be the first objects lined up for 3D printing.

“Audi was looking for a reliable development partner and has found that in EOS, which we are very happy about,” commented Dr. Stefan Bindl, Team Manager of the Innovation Center at Additive Minds, EOS. “The close cooperation concerning application and process development, as well as internal knowledge building, makes a significant contribution, which is why Audi can quickly achieve substantial gains for its own business by applying our technology.” Bindl added that the geographical nearness between Audi and EOS also proved helpful in establishing the partnership.

Could future versions of the Audi TT Roadster contain 3D printed parts?

Although EOS will be supplying the equipment and training for the Audi team at Ingolstadt, the car manufacturer will have to devote significant manpower in order to get acquainted with the new 3D printers. However, with its eye on the automotive future, in which additive manufacturing is sure to play an important part, committing bodies to the 3D printing cause is something that Audi is happy to do, and the company has even devoted a specific area of its premises to additive training.

“We have set up our own competence center for 3D printing in order to gain experience with the materials and the process, and to further develop them for series production,” explained Jörg Spindler, Head of Toolmaking at Audi. “With this technology we are able to integrate internal structures and functions in tools that we have not been able to create so far with conventional manufacturing methods. We can now quickly and economically produce lightweight components using this technology, especially in small batches.”

Other areas of interest for Audi include 3D printing inserts for die casting molds and hot working segments. According to the car manufacturer, it can improve series production by introducing 3D printed, component-specific conformal cooling channels throughout its molds. Because of the complexity of these channels, no other manufacturing method could be used to create them. Audi says the optimized cooling performance could lead to a reduction in production time by 20 percent, simultaneously producing a positive effect on the energy consumption and cost efficiency of the components.

With 3D printing becoming more important in the automotive industry, Audi might have found an incredibly valuable friend in EOS.

Posted in 3D Printer Company

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Audi invests in 3D printing

Audi will focus on aluminium materials and serial-component development for the lightweight-design Audi ultra.Audi will focus on aluminium materials and serial-component development for the lightweight-design Audi ultra.

Audi AG has acquired an additive manufacturing (AM) machine supplied by 3D printing specialist SLM Solutions.

The company has purchased the SLM280HL all-purpose system for use in the company’s depart-ment for technical development, based in Gießen, Germany.

This machine reportedly represents the entire laser melting process and is suitable for both R+D di-visions as well as for production processes using SLM procedures.

Audi’s department for technical development in Gießen concentrates on the development and testing of both new casting technologies and light alloys for the entire pressure-casting process chain for the components body, chassis and transmissions. The company’s casting technology cen-ter processes aluminium and magnesium die casting alloys – from pre-development to prototypes, and finally to in-house batch production in three-shift operation. An essential part of the constant further development is the strict focus on materials, technology and process parameters of AM.

With the purchase of the SLM280HL, Audi will be able to integrate SLM Solutions’ additive manufac-turing technology into its own development and production processes, SLM says. The focus will be on aluminium materials and serial-component development for the lightweight-design Audi ultra.

This story uses material from SLMwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. 

Audi 3D Printed Car Revealed; 1936 Auto Union Type C Model To Be Sold Soon!

WESTMONT, IL – NOVEMBER 05: A sign hangs outside an Audi dealership on November 5, 2015 in Westmont, Illinois. Volkswagen, which owns Audi and Porsche, has directed dealers not to sell certain pre-owned VW, Audi and Porsche models with diesel engines whic

Audi, the luxury car manufacturer has produced a 3D printed prototype sports car on Thursday.

The company has replicated a miniature version of the classic 1936 Auto Union Typ C, Grand Prix sports car using a 3D mental printing technology.

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Head of Audi’s Toolmaking, Professor Dr. Hubert Waltl said, “We are pushing forward with new manufacturing technologies at Audi Toolmaking and at the Volkswagen Group,” a statement released during the company’s press for the announcement of the 3D-printed car model.

“Together with partners in the area of research, we are constantly exploring the boundaries of new processes. One of our goals is to apply metal printers in series production,” Waltl added according to Tech Times.

The 3D printed 1936 Auto Union Typ C, Grand Prix sports car is as half as the size of the original one making it exactly a 1:2 scale. The authentic version was designed by Ferdinand Porsche, who used a mid-mounted 16-cylinder engine that won him many Grand Prix victories from years 1936 to 1938, as reported in CNET.

Audi uses a metal 3D printing machine that melts metallic powder through its lasers to create the car’s surfaces in eight inches cubed size. The machine is also capable in making complicated car parts and those that are impossible to make. The printing machine produces even denser parts compared to those that are made from hot forming or die casting, according to BBC.

The 3D printed car parts are individually made by the metal printer before joining it together to become a solid scale model. This innovation encourages the company to explore the metal printer’s further functionalities to produce more compound parts, according to Tech Times.

As of the moment, the metal printer is only capable of building scale model car parts of 9.5 inches long by 7.9 inches wide. This technology will also help lessen the rate of metal waste and lessen the lengthy process of manufacturing complex car parts, according to CNET.

Car manufacturers like Ford and General Motors have already dwelled into making 3D printed car prototypes earlier than Audi. Recently, Local Motors have announced their plans to start producing their LM3D Swim 3D printed car into the market, according to Tech Times.

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