Daimler Investing in Automated 3D Metal Printing

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May 2, 2019—Daimler is investing in automated 3D metal printing and says its NextGenAM system is already working to make 3D printed metal parts, reported CNET.

Additive manufacturing (another name for 3D printing) can be done with plastic, ceramics and even metals, and it's this last material that Daimler is interested in, according to the report. Daimler estimates that the ability to manufacture medium-size runs of parts quickly and without the costs associated with making or buying tooling and without additional needed human workers could lead to cost savings of up to 50 percent over the current methods of manufacture.

The Daimler/Premium Aerotec/EOS NextGenAM system works with a conveyer belt and a series of manufacturing robots that handle everything from setup and transport of the powdered aluminum from which the part will be made to the actual printing area, to the lasers that heat the powder and form the layers from which the part is constructed. 

The NextGenAM system is in use now building spare parts for Daimler trucks and buses. The first part, a bracket for a diesel bus engine, is already being fitted to vehicles.

Other manufacturers have also embraced 3D printing. General Motors, for example, uses 3D printers to manufacture tooling for its factories and Ford will use 3D-printed parts in the new Shelby GT500.

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