What does the future hold?
In the future, we could well see AM being integrated into hybrid work stations with multi-axis robots, equipped with automatic tool change systems that allow them to switch between yet more AM technologies like fused granulate fabrication (FGF – also known as direct printing with pellets) and continuous fiber feeding, to milling, to thermoplastic composite tape laying, making one-off parts to personal order that it would have been impossible to make just a short while ago.
For several years, for example, DSM has been working with Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) on development and production of SLA parts for TMG’s limited series of GT86 CS-V3 consumer racing cars. AM is a cost-effective solution, as TMG can print the parts instead of hand-making them with composites on machined tools.
TMG also uses stereolithography extensively to quickly test design concepts including wind-tunnel testing. SLA allows multiple design variations to be built at the same time, reducing product development cycles. Parts include an air intake, an air intake cap and brake cooling ducts.