Skip to content

Metal Additive Manufacturing in Large Scale Volume for the Automotive Market

  • today
  • access_time -
  • location_on406 A
  • blur_circularConference
Conference Abstract: Metal additive manufacturing has been around for ~30 years (EOSINT M250 in 1994), yet till now has not seen widespread use in high volume applications, in any market. There have been industries that have taken advantage of what AM has to offer; Aerospace utilizing optimized shapes from part consolidation, Medical with patient customization of implantable devices. These examples, while widespread, are nothing compared to volumes seen in the automotive market.

There are many reasons why this situation may be. Metal AM is still a new process. As stated, it has only been around for 30 years, compared to more traditional processes, and the breadth of knowhow has yet to be built up. Metal AM is limited with the materials that are available. The early adopter industries developed materials to meet their needs, and unfortunately, those materials are not ideal for the automotive market. Metal AM is limited with inspection methods. Because of the nature of AM parts, they tend to have complex shapes, with the possibilities of internal structures. In other industries, it’s possible to use slow methods (CT scans, x-ray) or destructive testing on same batch parts to ensure quality. The automotive market volumes does not allow either of these methods to be used easily, as the high volume requires cycle time to be low. Metal AM requires powdered metal. Powdered metal of any type needs to be handled extremely carefully from a Safety, Health, and Environmental aspect, and the large quantity need for high volume production with a large hurdle to overcome.

During this presentation, challenges in each area will be discussed, how they are being overcome and what activities are still needed to improve progress.