DSM and BAC will work together to unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry. Both companies are convinced that integrating 3D printing in car manufacturing allows for the creation of parts that are not only lighter, but also stronger and customizable to meet specific customer needs. In addition, 3D printing enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to explore new designs that would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods.
The new Mono R features a series of new, 3D-printed parts. For instance, BAC and DSM developed 3D-printed grips for the Mono R’s steering wheel that are fully customizable to its driver. The car also features new 3D-printed air inlets that are lighter, more durable, and more cost-effective to produce than traditional inlets. Thanks in part to design, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), and manufacturing changes to key parts of the Mono via 3D printing, BAC and DSM were able to limit the weight of the new supercar to 560 kilograms – a record low.
Other innovations are still to follow. For instance, DSM and BAC are currently exploring the design and production of 3D-printed parts incorporating new, organic shapes and hollow internal structures – radically reducing weight while maintaining strength. Additive manufacturing also enables OEMs to replace materials now common in car manufacturing with newer, high-performing and recyclable materials.
By using state-of-the-art CAE tools, DSM supports BAC in designing lightweight parts using the full potential of design for additive manufacturing (e.g. allowing design for function, which limits material to places where it is needed to support mechanical loads). Many of DSM’s traditional and high-performing polymers are already commonly used in the automotive sector. By re-engineering these tried and tested materials and optimizing them for 3D printing purposes, DSM Additive Manufacturing is enabling new and innovative designs to surface, as showcased by the record-breaking Mono R.
In time, the weight-reducing and durable properties of additive manufacturing will undoubtedly also be integrated into designs for mainstream vehicles.
Patrick Duis, segment leader Automotive Additive Manufacturing at DSM: “The BAC Mono R is the perfect showcase for the potential of 3D printing to reshape the automotive industry. Additive manufacturing offers unparalleled options for small-series production and customization of cars, and we are excited to work together with BAC to optimize our materials for car manufacturers. This brings us another step closer to Manufacture Tomorrow.”
Ian Briggs, Design Director of BAC: “We pride ourselves on being the ultimate pioneers at BAC, and joining forces with DSM means we can once again lead the way – this time in terms of additive manufacturing. Keeping the car as light as possible is of paramount importance, and by using 3D printing we not only keep the kilograms down, but also keep sustainability and safety on the up. We’re excited to see how our work on Mono R can translate to the automotive industry as a whole.”
Improving sustainability in car manufacturing
DSM and BAC will continue collaborating closely to explore new technologies, materials and applications for 3D printing in the automotive industry. Both companies will also look for opportunities to improve sustainability in vehicle and other manufacturing processes. In 2018 BAC became the first car manufacturer to go climate positive, which means it removes more carbon dioxide from earth’s atmosphere than it emits.
Adding additive manufacturing to the mix will enable BAC to cut its emissions even further, for example because 3D parts can be printed on site rather than having to be shipped across the globe. The company will also have access to DSM’s line-up of recyclable materials, further aiding its sustainability ambitions.