This bracket for a truck diesel engine is already in production on the new AM line.Click image to enlarge

A pilot project for automated 3D printing of replacement parts and series-production components has been a huge success for Daimler, the automotive manufacturer says.

Dubbed NextGenAM, the project was a collaboration between Daimler and two partners: Premium Aerotec and Eos. It was launched in May 2017 and wrapped up recently.

The objective was to develop a digital next-generation manufacturing line to produce aluminum components for the automotive and aerospace sectors. Parts are now being manufactured on the new production line at Premium Aerotec.

The AM production chain is fully automated, with no manual input required at any stage, from data preparation and central powder supply through to the build process itself – including heat treatment, quality assurance and separation of the components from the build platform. The process is controlled from a central, autonomous control station.

The project used the EOS M 400-4 four-laser system for industrial metal 3D printing. A driverless transport system and robots moved parts through every stage of the production line.

Daimler says switching to AM could reduce the cost of producing parts by as much as 50 per cent.

Read Daimler’s announcement.

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