Unleashing 3D Printing on Automotive Manufacturing

Divergent 3D and SLM Solutions Group partner to develop metal additive manufacturing for the auto industry.

(Image courtesy of Divergent 3D.)

(Image courtesy of Divergent 3D.)

The world’s first 3D-printed car made a huge impact at IMTS 2014, leading many to wonder when we’d start to see additive manufacturing on factory floors in the automotive industry.

Certainly, there have been numerous indications that automotive 3D printing is kicking into high gear, but the majority of these developments have occurred in prototyping or high-end applications. You still won’t find any 3D metal printers chugging away inside the average Ford or Toyota plant—at least, not yet.

So how do we move from metal rapid prototyping to metal additive manufacturing?

As is often the case in modern manufacturing, it’s a matter of bringing software and hardware together, and sometimes you need to start from the ground up.

Case in point: Divergent 3D, a technology development and licensing company, has partnered with SLM Solutions Group, a provider of metal-based additive manufacturing technology, in an effort to build lighter, structurally safe, more cost-efficient and environmentally responsible automobiles using the Divergent Manufacturing Platform.

Divergent 3D’s software was previously used to create the Blade supercar, back when the company was called Divergent Microfactories. Now, the company is setting its sights on high-volume production, echoing Tesla’s strategy of starting at the high end before attempting to move into the mass market.

An example of how the Divergent Manufacturing Platform can be used to design the structure and assembly of a vehicle is shown in the video below:

“SLM Solutions Group is a powerful, long-term strategic partner for Divergent 3D, working with us to provide 3D metal printing hardware and software specific to the Divergent Manufacturing Platform,” said Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of Divergent 3D. “We believe that this will transform the way vehicle structures are designed, engineered, manufactured and assembled.”

For more information, visit the websites for Divergent 3D and SLM Solutions Group.