No conversation regarding automobiles is complete without a discussion regarding parts. This is what makes the world of the car—and the manufacturer—go round. So what happens when older cars and machines become rather obsolete and when it comes to repairs you hear the all-too-familiar ‘sorry, can’t get parts for that’? Perhaps previously that was encouragement enough just to let go or to rely on some dubious route to lift an aging vehicle out of obsolescence. It just so happens though that one of the benefits of 3D technology is in being able to create parts no longer available. Something that was once quite complicated has become amazingly simple as a part that has become obsolete can now just be scanned and 3D printed in tip-top form.
BORG Automotive is not one of those companies that sits on their laurels when it comes to projects. They believe that when it comes to work, all processes should be optimized for not only the highest quality but also the shortest turnaround time. It’s important to note as well that BORG has quality assurance measures in place for each phase of a project and technological project, meaning that ultimately customers are able to enjoy a high-quality product.
With a central focus on remanufactured parts, BORG is certainly a prime candidate for enjoying the benefits of additive manufacturing in their niche market. They’ve been in the game now for 40 years, as a group of successful enterprises in the auto industry. BORG leads Europe in their field as specialists in sales, production and distribution in the auto aftermarket. And just recently, they began using AM in their component production process after becoming aware not just of the worldwide popularity of the technology and its wow factor, but also as they saw that it was quickly becoming such an important part of the manufacturing process at many plants.
“It is a natural part of our work to test manufactured products. We also put a lot of focus into the issue of R&D,” says Grzegorz Stępień, R&D technologist at BORG Automotive. “In our research lab we are capable of testing our products under heavy loads in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. We are able to create new products as well as enhance the ones that are already on the market. The use of 3D printers has definitely made the work more efficient.”
While headquarters are in Denmark, BORG’s plant for production as well as distribution is in Poland. At that facility, they remanufacture:
- A/C compressors
- Brake calipers
One of their recent projects resulted in the regeneration of alternators with a starter function used in the start/stop systems. All of the parts they create are produced for popular models of automobiles, but BORG also makes parts for agricultural and construction machines, obviously leaving room for many parts needed that may not be available anywhere else today. This demand, coupled with their dedication to quality, is why BORG is a leader in their field.
Now, however, they are leading in technology too with the addition of 3D printing. This allows them to create components manufactured through synthetics that just weren’t being made anymore via traditional methods. Attempting to subcontract the creation of obsolete components was not cost-effective and could not be completed in a timely manner. Now, with 3D printers onsite, BORG is able to enjoy making parts with quick turnaround that are high quality and affordable.
Their hardware of choice is the VSHAPER 3D printer, manufactured by Verashape, a Polish company we reported on recently, as they continue in their mission to see the VSHAPER distributed worldwide. With the VSHAPER, the automotive parts company is able to make components that offer elevated thermal and mechanical endurance.
“VSHAPER printers enable us to retain flexibility and independence. We can reduce the cost of production, which gives us an advantage over competition,” says Grzegorz Stępień.
They chose VSHAPER 3D printers because they are able to produce a high-quality model, with precision. These machines can also work continuously which is a high mark, and especially adds to BORG’s commitment in fast turnaround times for industrial projects.
“More and more companies in the automotive industry are interested in printing construction elements having virtues similar to that of metal,” says Tomasz Szymański, the founder and CEO of Verashape. “Observing the development of 3D print in the recent years, it becomes apparent that automotive is its biggest recipient.”
Judging from the number of innovations we see within the automotive industry, not to mention numerous collaborations and high-profile projects, Szymański may be right on target. The technology came on the scene originally to offer easier prototyping for engineers, and for many manufacturers it is still working in that limited role. Here, however, we see a perfect example of how 3D printing of fully functional parts is allowing a major company like BORG to make some extremely modern changes that speed up quality production, and allow them a leg up on the production. Discuss further over in BORG 3D Printing in Automotive forum over at 3DPB.com.