"EDAG GENESIS" world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show 2014
A component, module, or even a complete, one-piece vehicle body produced in one single production process! Impossible? Current advances in additive manufacturing have brought what still sounds like Utopia one step closer to reality! Reason enough for EDAG, one of the leading engineering service providers in the automotive industry, to assess the status quo of additive manufacturing processes with a view to their industrial application for components, modules and complete vehicle bodies, and analyse a possible time frame.
At the Geneva Motor Show, EDAG will be presenting a futuristic vehicle sculpture "EDAG GENESIS", which, using the example of a body structure, is designed to demonstrate the revolutionary potential of additive manufacturing. "EDAG GENESIS" is based on the bionic patterns of a turtle, which has a shell that provides protection and cushioning and is part of the animal's bony structure. The framework of the exhibit calls to mind a naturally developed skeletal frame, the form and structure of which should make one thing perfectly clear: these organic structures cannot be built using conventional tools! In the future, additive manufacturing could benefit designers and engineers by opening up enormous freedoms and new design options for development and production.
A multi-disciplinary team of EDAG designers and specialists from the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction took a close look at the potential of a number of promising additive manufacturing processes, and discussed them with research and industrial experts. Possible candidates for the situation analysis of additive manufacturing were technologies such as selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), stereolithography (SLA), and fused deposition modelling (FDM).
In the assessment, a specially developed evaluation matrix was used to quantify the technologies; this included criteria such as structural relevance, possible part size, production tolerance and manufacturing costs. The results showed that a refined FDM process also looked to be a promising candidate for the future-oriented subject of additive manufacturing. Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space - without any tools or fixtures whatsoever. By introducing endless carbon fibres during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values. Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future.
From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is completely feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision.
The EDAG Group will be keeping a close watch on the evolution of additive manufacturing. The target: to develop and present practicable and valid applications for use in component development and production. The first stage will be small structural parts; however, we intend to make a real contribution to the development of the revolutionary idea of additive manufacturing.
4th March, 2014 at 12:45 p.m., Hall 2, Stand 2158