Apr 19, 2017 | By Tess

Industrial 3D printer company EOS has announced a new partnership with aerostructures supplier Premium Aerotec and German automotive corporation Daimler. Through the partnership, the companies will establish a production system for serial additive manufacturing. The metal 3D printing initiative, called the NextGenAM project, is set to launch in May 2017.

With metal 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, becoming increasingly important for manufacturing industries, many companies have been exploring the uses of the technology and realizing its potentials. Together, EOS, Aerotec, and Daimler will work towards establishing and accelerating the technology for applications in large-scale serial manufacturing.

The stated goal of the NextGenAM project is to “progress the automation of the entire industrial 3D printing process.” According to the partners, this will consist of going over the whole additive manufacturing process, from metal powder delivery to post-processing stages, to identify steps which could be further automated.

“We are proud to be part of such a forward-looking project alongside Premium Aerotec and Daimler,” commented Dr. Hans J Langer, founder and CEO of EOS Group. “This underlines the growing footprint of industrial 3D printing in serial production. As a technology pioneer in powder-based additive manufacturing we contribute full engagement and long-lasting expertise. With EOS platforms we push ahead the setup of this future production solution.”

With the upcoming launch of the NextGenAM project, the three parties are hoping for significant cost advantages through the acceleration of metal 3D printing and its large-scale serial manufacturing applications. The project will seek to advance all steps of the additive manufacturing process, including the processing stages that occur before and after printing. According to the partners, these processes account for about 70% of the overall manufacturing costs, so it is important to address them. As part of the project, the companies will also be seeking to qualify aluminum as a material for industrial 3D printing.

“We invented the car, and we are actively shaping the future of mobility,” said Dr. Stefan Kienzle, head of Advance Development at Daimler AG. “The elements that we bring to this collaboration are our extensive experience in automotive materials and the qualification of those materials, as well as our know-how on efficient and large-scale capacity manufacturing processes in conjunction with component design that is topologically optimized and the latest calculation methods.”

The project will see each of the collaborating companies contribute their expertise as well as several million euros in investments for the establishment of an automated production facility for additive manufacturing serial production. The NextGenAM project will kick off in May 2017, and a development and testing environment will be set up at a technology center in Varel, Germany over the next few months. 

Premium Aerotec was the first aerospace manufacturer to supply serial 3D printed structural components for an Airbus aircraft, and in January it announced it would be opening a metal 3D printing facility for the production of titanium parts. EOS, for its part, is one of the world’s leaders in industrial 3D printing, and is perhaps most notable for its Quad-Laser System EOS M 400-4 metal 3D printer. Car manufacturer Daimler has extensive experience in serial production and is seeking to benefit from 3D printed aluminum parts in the future.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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