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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | The future of manufacturing is additive
The future of manufacturing is additive
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With the advancement of rising additive manufacturing technologies that promise to render benefits in terms of cost, flexibility and speed, the automotive industry will contribute vastly to large scale adoption of AM, says Ankit Sahu.
Over the years, India has grown into a leading automotive technology and product development base, always driven by talented and gifted minds among other tailwinds. Needless to mention, India is also rising as a leading additive manufacturing adopter and has already created a vast market in this sub-continental market.
The medical and aerospace sectors are among the early adopters of 3D printing as a result of the guaranteed benefits such as design freedom, speed, optimisation and also manufacturing flexibility. Several research in automotive studies shows that performance car manufacturers with smaller volumes are highly interested in adopting 3D printing and putting it into their production.
Examples of 3D printing
BMW has adopted a metal 3D printed technology in its production series cars. According to researchers and industry experts, this is the first time for auto industry globally. The 2018 BMW i8 Roadster with additive manufacturing, the company claims that it is almost 44 per cent lighter than the base model and proves its feasibility by being technically sensible and cost effective. BMW, which has been using 3D printing technology for over 20 years, has now put the technology successfully on the road for potential customers. It has opened doors for using additive manufacturing in mass-production of cars.
For few automotive OEMs with a broader production line of cars and clients/customers, 3D printing till now has been limited to prototyping. Most manufacturers currently are in Tech Check phase, limiting the use to design iterations that concentrates mostly on speed and not so much into production in large volumes. The predominant limiting factors in terms of usage of AM have been the inability of the current technology platforms to produce high volumes at the desired cost. As a result, few are prepared to commit to an ‘additive design’ that cannot be realised conventionally, creating further challenges in adaption.
As we witness the advancement of rising AM technologies that promise to render benefits in terms of cost, flexibility and speed, we can see the automotive industry contributing vastly to large scale adoption of additive manufacturing (AM). Researchers and experts predict the automotive 3D printing market to be as high as $5 billion by the year 2023 and in excess of $12 billion by the year 2028.
Hybrid vehicles’ era
Hybrid vehicles are here to stay forever and the writing is on the wall. Now all we have to find out is when we can see business rising in large proportions despite setbacks which is expected to stay for not very long. Additive manufacturing has shown significant development in other sectors which proves for a prospective sector like automotive chances are really good. AM wins the hand in terms of reduction of part counts, weight and simplification of design while working alongside with developments on the battery. With newer technology and power generation in the market, we will see far advanced additive manufacturing methods as well as materials being adapted.
The journey: Additive prototypes to solutions
There is a definite opportunity for an integrated manufacturing solution which involves AM, additive engineering and optimisation through computational interventions thereby creating nonlinear value for OEMs as we are moving towards the new generation of transportation. Automotive consultancies who work beside manufacturers to implement not only sub-assemblies and modified components but also supply chains and production lines, will definitely create integrating values for automotive OEMs.
Meanwhile design prototyping would carry on to be a significant domain when it comes to 3D printing in automotive industry and will continue to be render commodities. It is crucial for automotive OEMs to hash out a thorough and long-term adaption blueprint that includes optimisation, material replacements, supply chains, innovations and needless to mention, user experience involving a spectrum of additive manufacturing technologies and solutions, working on long term relationships with relevant partners.
About the author
Ankit Sahu is the Director of Objectify Technologies Private Limited. He has pursued his Bachelor of Engineering, 2010 in Mechancal Engineering from RV College of Engineering, Bangalore and his Master of Science in Manufacturing Technology Engineering, 2012 from Warwick University, UK. He founded Objectify Technologies right after returning from UK in 2013, at SIIC Incubation Centre at IIT Kanpur.
3D Printed Technology
Objectify Technologies Private Limited
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