Weight discount is among the many drivers pushing the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing applied sciences within the automotive manufacturing business. For the ‘ultra-lightweight seat feasibility examine’ (ULBS) prototype, weight discount was the first aim, so it follows that they appeared to 3D printing.
The examine was a collaboration between a number of German superior manufacturing firms and employed a number of completely different fabrication strategies, together with filament winding and a number of varieties of 3D printing.
Weight Discount & Manufacturing Pace
The ULBS is to be marketed to makers of hypercars and air taxis the place weight discount is important. A secondary aim of the examine was to display how shortly the seat may very well be fabricated utilizing AM, so its 7-month turnaround time is very noteworthy contemplating seven firms had been working collectively on the seat. The prototype weighed in at simply over 10kg, 20% lighter than comparable light-weight seats. ULBS undertaking chief Stefan Herrmann says there are not any seats in the marketplace below 12kg, including:
“Nevertheless, a direct comparability is commonly not apples-to-apples, as a result of aftermarket seats usually don’t embrace the seating console within the weight definition. Additionally, the seating consolation of the ULBS is lots greater in comparison with seats with related weight. Current seats are sometimes bucket seats, that are even decrease weight however not that comfy, or conventional supersports seats, which have lots greater weight.”
Resin-impregnated Steady Fibers
A lot of the burden discount is due to a fiber roving skeleton construction primarily based on a course of know-how referred to as ‘xFK in 3D,’ which is a filament winding course of. The method entails winding resin-impregnated steady fibers round pegs in a calculated path decided by generative simulations. Aluminum 3D printing was used to provide the peg construction for the winding. Although filament winding isn’t a sort of 3D printing, it does qualify as additive manufacturing as just one% of fiber is wasted within the course of. The result’s extremely light-weight and powerful in precisely the precise locations.
Right here’s a breakdown of all of the AM processes used to make the ULBS prototype:
Positioning fixtures 3D printed in aluminum
Seat body produced utilizing xFK in 3D fiber winding
Decrease seat cushion layered with 3D printed PUR foam cowl
Backrest cushions 3D printed in TPU
Trim elements 3D printed in plastic
Backrest fitments 3D printed in chrome steel
That’s a variety of 3D printing in a single seat. The payoff is important, although. If a UAM (city air mobility) pod has all of its seats swapped for the ULBS, its weight may very well be decreased sufficient to extra simply embrace extra security options (like parachutes). We’ve seen assemblies that comprise components produced utilizing completely different 3D printing applied sciences however this takes it to a different degree. It is a very environment friendly manufacturing technique so it’s possible we’ll see extra hybrid xFK in 3D/3D printing tasks and workflows.
Featured picture courtesy of csi Verwaltungs GmbH.
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