The Geneva Motor Show is this week, and that means a look at some of the up and coming vehicle technologies within the industry. The show is known for its display of concept vehicles, and concept manufacturing technology. It is aimed more towards manufacturers than the car buying public. This year, a company called EDAG will be on hand showing off something a little different than most show goers may be used to.
It has been known, by industry insiders, that 3D printing could be a major player in the manufacturing of vehicles, whether just for prototyping, or for actual parts. What EDAG will be showing off, however, is a concept for a 3d printed body of an entire vehicle, in which they named the EDAG Genesis.
The EDAG Genesis is an example of biomimicry, which means that the concept for this vehicle takes attributes from nature, in this case a turtle’s shell, and mimics them within its design. Although likely 10 to 20 years off, EDAG believes that 3D printers will one day manufacture the entire body of a vehicle, using a refined fused deposition modeling process. They envision a continuous strand of carbon fiber being used within the printing process, helping to create an ulrta strong outer shell of a vehicle in one piece.
“Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space – without any tools or fixtures whatsoever. By introducing endless carbon fibers during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values. Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future.”” the company stated in their media release.
The design for the Genesis builds upon the attributes, including strength, cushioning, and protection, which is found within a turtle’s shell. Such a structure would not be able to be created using traditional tools and manufacturing methods. 3D printing allows designers to think outside the box and create structures which were unimaginable just a few years ago.
Although such a vehicle may not be feasible for another decade or even longer, EDAG envisions additive manufacturing playing a key roll in the production of components and parts for vehicles, both built now, and in the future. They envision playing a crucial role in the development of this technology. Discuss the EDAG Genesis at the forum.
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