A new partnership has been declared by automotive manufacturer Audi with fellow German company, 3D printer manufacturers EOS. The additive manufacturing will be used for, “equipment and prototype building at Audi, as well as motor sports, where the technology is already in use today.”
Famous for their industrial-sized Direct Metal Laser Sintering machines, EOS are one of the largest 3D printing companies. The agreement between the two industry-leading companies follows a call from the German Government to advance new digital technologies in industry.
Earlier this year, a new government department named as the ‘Federal Ministry of Digital’ was encouraged by the German Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt. In addition to this, another new was reported by 3D Printing Industry regarding the partnership between Siemens and Trumpf in recent weeks in order to further the industrialization of additive manufacturing.
The 3D printing center is being created by the German automotive manufacturers in the southern city of Ingolstadt. The flagship plant is home to Audi’s largest production facility and Europe’s second-largest car factory. Over 500,000 cars were manufactured by it in 2015 and therefore EOS can expect their machines to be busy at the plant. The reason for Audi to collaborate with the EOS is to advance their tool manufacturing process.
While explaining how this agreement will help Audi progress, the Director of Global Application and Consulting at EOS, Güngör Kara said:
“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.”
One of the major reasons for Audi to advance in 3D printing is the fact that it enhances the manufacturing possibilities, as per Audi. Audi are enthusiastic since “the technology will make possible the production of geometries that would have to be joined in conventional manufacturing.” This is a commonly cited benefit of 3D printing.
Lately, another research project regarding the production of car components via additive manufacturing has been reported by 3D Printing Industry. A new project focused on the creation of ‘fuel-efficient functional lattices for automotive components’ is being embarked on by the University of Nottingham. This research will exhibit the prospects of manufacturing strong 3D printed components that are not only lightweight, but also energy efficient.
In addition to all this, 3D printing Industry has also featured Audi recently due to their extra-terrestrial 3D printed plans such as partnership with the Part Time Scientists on the design process in order to create a Lunar Rover, called ALINA. One element of this project will put a 3D printing microwave on the moon. Although EOS does not plan to work on ALINA, maybe it has opened the eyes of the German automotive company to the possibilities.
There is another aim behind the Audi’s new approach which is sustainability. When compared with conventional manufacturing methods, additive is a significantly more ecological process owing to the fact that it produces less material waste. The goal of manufacturing more sustainable cars is common in top automotive companies; however, several companies are looking towards carbon friendly manufacturing methods now. Divergent, the 3D printing car creators holds the view that emissions are decreased considerably by additive manufacturing as compared to traditional methods.
Jörg Spindler, Audi’s Head of Toolmaking, explains the immediate plans for this collaboration with EOS,
“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. Especially with components in small batches, we can now produce components using lightweight construction, quickly and economically based on this technology.”