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What makes Additive Manufacturing a Disruptive Force in the Automotive Sector?

Auto Tech Outlook | Friday, February 07, 2020

What makes Additive Manufacturing a Disruptive Force in the Automotive Sector?

The automotive industry is getting competitive everyday and new technologies are needed to break plateaus in manufacturing.

FREMONT, CA: Additive manufacturing (AM) is implemented in various industries, which has a lot of advantages and brings the same amount challenges simultaneously. According to the ARC Advisory Group study, automotive and aerospace and defense were the two largest markets for additive manufacturing in 2018. These two industries represent more than 33 percent of industrial system sales by revenue. Manufacturers and automotive suppliers use AM technology to develop functional prototypes and design samples. This process reduces the development time and cost; however, it is not suitable for mass production. Manufacturers that use traditional methods are adopting 3D printing, which offers tremendous potential for automotive OEMs. Consequently, AM is reshaping the capital-intensive development of new products. However, AM is not the ultimate methodology to reduce costs. The primary benefit of AM is to develop complex or lightweight structures. Thus, traditional manufacturing will be irreplaceable.  

Top Automotive Safety Solution CompaniesAM has to overcome a lot of obstacles to quality assurance and productivity. Process stability in automation is not guaranteed, and experts are witnessing meager degree of automation AM. However, organizations are aiming to overcome these hurdles. As per a joint initiative between aerospace supplier Premium Aerotec, automotive supplier Daimler, and technology provider EOS named NextGenAM, they will collectively develop a completely automated system that will produce aluminum components for the automotive and aerospace industry. The pilot plant of the project will encompass machines for additive production, post-processing, and quality assurance. The plant enables complex, lightweight components by automating and integrating the interactions between most steps in the process.

According to a recent study by the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Casting, Composite, and Processing Technology (IGCV), AM represents only 0.05 percent of the total production market in the automotive sector. The research concluded that 1-5 percent of all components produced are only suitable for either short or medium-term, which indicates what is possible with the technology available today against what has already been achieved.  AM is growing very quickly and improving the possibilities of material diversity and applications. With growth, the levels of complexities increase as well. Thus, manufacturers must develop worldwide standards that are necessary for the advancement of the technology.

See also: Top Automotive Technology Companies

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