Additive manufacturing is continuing to carve out a place for itself in industry. Recently Mercedes Benz has started using 3D printing to create parts for their older truck models, removing the costly and time-consuming process of casting moulds for these lesser used parts.
The automotive giant is using SLM (Selective Laser Melting) in place of standard casting, as well as creating plastic parts through 3D printing. This is a great step for them as it means they do not have to maintain any old casting moulds, saving them money and time. It is also great news for consumers: as a result of ‘on demand’ manufacture, parts become more affordable to keep in inventory due to the reduction in overheads such as production tooling and storage.
SLM printing works in a very similar way to SLS printing. It features a high power, focused laser which is used to melt cross sectional patterns into a bed of metal powder. Once the laser has finished melting the powder together, another layer of powder is added and the process starts again. This process is currently possible with materials like aluminium, stainless steel, and titanium, although materials are being developed and included rapidly, as is to be expected from such a new industry.
The great advantage of this new manufacturing technique is the lack of tooling costs. Creating moulds takes a great deal of time and money and they must be carefully maintained to ensure a high-quality output. This increases costs even further. Additive manufacturing bypasses all of this and allows rapid manufacture of mechanically sound parts without the hassle and time delays of creating traditional mould tooling.
3D printing provides us with the ability to manufacture custom, functional parts at a low cost and, importantly, in a vastly reduced time frame compared to traditional methods. So when it comes to cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind, you now have the tools at your disposal to create any custom part you want or need. We can produce the important replacement to revive a classic, or manufacture a bespoke extra to customise your ride. The choice is yours.
For more information, visit https://www.fluxaxis.com/ to learn more about how you can achieve your goals through our experienced staff and state of the art machinery. Or to contact us directly please email us here. For the official press release from Daimler and Mercedes visit here and here.