Automotive Industry: Ford & Porsche push the metal 3D printing forward!

News from the 3D printing industry | 15 February 2018

Both Ford and Porsche beginning the year with some impressive advance in Metal Additive Manufacturing.

On one hand, Porsche has been studying the opportunity of additive manufacturing in automotive since a moment.

With the collaboration of Volkswagen, Porsche has already introduced metal 3D printing for component cooling and in 2018 the firm even authorized a project of metal and plastic part replacement in 3D printing. It is in Germany where the Development Centre Weissach is home to some of Porsche’s experimentation in additive manufacturing. Using powder bed fusion based metal and polymer fabrication techniques, developers at the center have been investigating the technology’s potential application in rotor shafts for electric engines. It can take up to 13 hours to print one piece!

Despite this progress in 3D Printing, for Christian Thönes, chairman of the board at DMG MORI, the collaboration between subtractive technologies and additive ones will always be necessary for the future of manufacturing.

Design of rotorshaft to be produced using selective laser melting (SLM) at Porsche. Image via Porsche

On the other hand, Ford Performance, USA, with the collaboration of a team of research engineers in Europe have manufactured what is called the biggest 3D metal part for a working vehicle in automotive history.

After designing and conducting structural analysis the 3D metal part was manufactured during five days in Germany and weighs almost 6 kg. The part is an intricate aluminium intake manifold that supplies air from the turbochargers to the engine’s cylinders.

Ken Block’s Hoonitruck, a 1977 Ford F-150 with a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 (Courtesy Ford) in which the 3D metal part is settled. Image via Ford

What can be the next steps of 3D Printing in the Automotive industry?

For more information, please read the full articles, click here (Porsche) and here (Ford)