Peugeot SA (PSA) Group, a $12.8 billion French automobile manufacturer, recently closed a strategic partnership with Divergent 3D, which focuses on the utilization of 3D printing in automotive manufacturing. Divergent 3D previously gained massive mainstream media exposure after the introduction of the world’s first 3D printed supercar. The 3D printed car, called Blade, features a chassis about 90% lighter than the average car as well as a body composed of mostly of carbon fiber.
The company initially introduced its concept of a 3D printed supercar in 2015 to create efficient yet robust frameworks for cars. With lighter chassis and structures, the Divergent 3D development team discovered that automobile manufacturers can benefit from capital reduction and sustainability in manufacturing.
While Blade has been in the development phase for over a year and a half, the anticipation from the community towards the 1,400-lb. supercar remains high. Divergent 3D recently decided to enter into a strategic partnership with PSA Group to help the automobile manufacturer save capital and optimize manufacturing processes. The two companies have agreed on the establishment of a long-term relationship to benefit from each other’s resources, technologies and expertise.
As one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, PSA Group has huge amounts of resources and capital. With that, Divergent 3D’s innovative technologies can be tested and implemented by a wider range of cars and projects, outside the realm of supercars and luxury car models. Thus, PSA plans to utilize Divergent 3D’s technologies in enhancing overall vehicle structures to build lighter and structurally safer cars in the future.
Divergent 3D founder and CEO Kevin Czinger recently revealed a bit more detail about that technology, which combines 3D printed nodes, created from high-silicon aluminum using a DMLS process, with laser-cut carbon fiber tubes. The assembly, which is done by hand, takes only minutes and forms a strong, lightweight structure.
“We use 3D printing to create those connectors with low-cost aluminum extrusion plus lightweight, aerospace-grade carbon fiber that’s also low cost because we’re using already characterized carbon fiber structural pieces, versus wet layup methods,” Czinger told Design News. “Then we assemble those modular structures so you don’t need any welding or fixturing, and do this precisely. The assembly platform can be used across a broad range of car models. It’s non-design-specific, so there’s no reprogramming or refixturing required. Any design change is merely a software change instead of a tooling change.”
PSA Group firmly believes that the partnership and integration of Divergent 3D’s technologies will establish the position of the firm as the leading innovator in the automobile industry. PSA Group Chairman of the Managing Board Carlos Tavares also expressed his optimism towards the partnership, stating that the company hopes to be at the forefront of automobile innovation. The development team of Divergent 3D expressed their gratitude towards PSA Group in return, emphasizing that this long-term deal would allow the company to accelerate the growth of their technologies and to introduce their software-hardware platform to the rest of the multi-billion dollar automotive industry.[Source: Design News]