North America is a significant marketplace for the Volvo Group, representing about 28 % of its whole 2018 gross sales. With 9 manufacturing amenities in six US states, in addition to three crops in Canada and one in Mexico, the Swedish main producer of vehicles, buses, building tools, and marine and industrial engines wants to supply a spread of instruments and fixtures for his or her manufacturing and meeting traces in much less time than it used to. Particularly for his or her Volvo Vehicles section, since firm truck gross sales rose by 17% to 390.eight billion Swedish Krona (SEK) or 40.5 billion in 2018.
Excessive transport volumes and good freight charges within the North American financial system, means will increase in automobile gross sales in a truck market that’s turning into extraordinarily modern. As of this 12 months, autonomous Volvo FH vehicles are being examined on the Brønnøy Kalk mine in Norway, transporting limestone alongside a five-kilometer stretch. That is Volvo Vehicles’ first autonomous resolution in actual operation, however we are able to undoubtedly anticipate extra from the corporate which seeks to enhance productiveness and security with its well-known line of vehicles.
Volvo Vehicles North America is now utilizing 3D printing know-how to supply instruments and fixtures used within the manufacturing course of at its New River Valley (NRV) plant in Dublin, Virginia, US, the place all vehicles for the North American market are constructed. The know-how will allow faster manufacturing and steady high quality enhancements that would make a distinction in the best way their medium to heavy-duty vehicles might be constructed within the subsequent decade.
“Volvo Vehicles started exploring using 3D know-how with a prototype method, figuring out alternatives to enhance high quality within the manufacturing course of,” stated Franky Marchand, Vice President and Normal Supervisor of NRV. “A number of years later, we are able to now say that 3D printing has grow to be an integral element to our manufacturing processes and tradition at NRV.”
After years of inner analysis with 3D printing know-how and fine-tuning, there at the moment are greater than 500 3D printed manufacturing instruments and fixtures in use on the NRV store flooring. All of those elements have been printed on the Volvo Modern Initiatives Lab on the Dublin facility, a state-of-the-art lab the place Volvo Vehicles primarily makes use of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
In keeping with Volvo Vehicles, utilizing SLS permits engineers to design elements by drawing the tip product, placing it within the machine and leaving it to print in a matter of hours throughout a workday and even in a single day, slicing down on the variety of hours spent constructing elements by means of conventional tooling strategies. Using this know-how additionally will increase flexibility in manufacturing, lowering the wait for brand spanking new elements from distributors by merely printing them in-house. These capabilities assist scale back stock bills as nicely, eliminating area wanted to maintain historically produced instruments, driving prices down in finish merchandise for purchasers.
Again in 2015 Volvo Vehicles reduce manufacturing time by 94 % and prices with Stratasys 3D printing techniques. On the time 3D printing know-how proved that it might reduce the time it takes to design and manufacture a wide range of instruments as soon as produced in metallic from 36 days to only two days through the use of thermoplastic ABSplus and the Stratasys Fortus 3D Manufacturing System.
Inside three months of buying its Fortus system, the Volvo Vehicles’ engine manufacturing facility in Lyon, France had already 3D printed greater than 30 totally different manufacturing instruments together with a spread of light-weight yet-durable clamps, jigs, and helps, and ergonomically designed instrument holders to arrange their work atmosphere.
Now, 3D printing capabilities are enhancing high quality and precision by printing precise copies from fashions within the US facility. The know-how successfully eliminates error, will increase the possibilities of first time by means of (FTT) manufacturing of meeting instruments and fixtures, streamlining the manufacturing course of and enabling clients to obtain finish merchandise faster.
“Whereas the know-how has solely been in use for a handful of years, it’s already proving to be a worthwhile element of the manufacturing course of at NRV, considerably saving manufacturing time and elements prices and frequently enhancing high quality,” instructed Adam Crowder, supervisor of Superior Manufacturing Expertise at NRV, and chargeable for main a world manufacturing-focused community representing 12 Volvo Vehicles crops around the globe which might be collaborating to develop new 3D printing purposes and methods for improved manufacturing.
Probably the greatest examples of 3D printed elements in use at Volvo Vehicles is the one-piece diffuser used within the paint atomizer cleansing course of, which ended up saving the corporate greater than $1,000 per half, in addition to eliminating the necessity for a a number of piece element. Spare elements have been additionally produced for the 20 that have been created in order that they’ll simply and shortly get replaced ought to put on happen. They’ve additionally developed 3D printed roof seal gauges, fuse set up platens, drilling fixtures, brake piston gauges, vacuum drill ducts, brake valve becoming gauges, hood drilling fixtures, energy steering adapter holders, baggage door hole gauges and door pins.
“Due to the collaborative effort of the complete staff across the globe, we’re capable of additional enhance effectivity and high quality in our manufacturing by means of 3D printing. We plan to proceed to advance this know-how to profit our clients, saving them money and time,” revealed Marchand.
Different truck firms are additionally exploring 3D printing as a part of their manufacturing processes, like Daimler Vehicles North America and Renault Vehicles (which is now a part of the Volvo Group). After some spectacular leads to price discount and effectivity, plainly Volvo engineers will proceed to make use of 3D printing of their US facility, taking the following era of vehicles to extra full transport options for his or her skilled and demanding clients.
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