The MetalFAB1 has been in development for some time, as Netherlands-based Additive Industries first announced their intent to create an industrial solution to bring metal 3D printing ‘from lab to fab’ back in 2012 and has been hard at work since to deliver their scalable, customizable metal additive manufacturing system. The first systems were unveiled in late 2015, and beta customers began work with their machines in early 2016. While existing beta customers have been using the system to create high-flying parts, now a new customer will be bringing the technology to the racetrack.
Today at Rapid.Tech, Additive Industries has announced a new three-year technology partnership with Switzerland-based Sauber F1 Team, as Sauber will be the launching customer for the MetalFAB1 Process & Application Development Tool.
“We are honoured to be invited to join the Sauber F1 Team as a Technology Partner,” said Daan Kersten, CEO and Co-Founder of Additive Industries. “Sauber has been the launch pad for champions for decades, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel all started their careers at this unique private Swiss team. The professionalism of the Sauber F1 Team as well as their drive for technological innovation, they own one of the most advanced automotive wind tunnels in the world, fits beautifully with our quest for industrial excellence.”
The quest Kersten mentions is a familiar ambition in the metal additive manufacturing space: to become a technology leader. Additive Industries is working hard to bring its system to the forefront in metal 3D printing for applications in aerospace, automotive, medical, and other high-tech, high-demand industries that demand precision in manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is certainly no stranger to the world of Formula One automotive racing, with some teams already using trackside 3D printing — and bringing their metal technology to the track showcases Additive Industries’ development efforts as yielding reliable components that can be put to use in such an exacting environment.
For its part, Sauber F1 Team has been using 3D printing technology for more than a decade, having been working extensively with polymer materials. Sauber notes that it is “a logical step to extend this capability into metals” as the partnership with Additive Industries is set to begin on July 1. Among the benefits Sauber has gained through use of additive manufacturing technologies are many for which the technology is well known, including shortening cycle times for manufacturing innovative parts; the team notes that “the application of state-of-the-art materials and processes is essential for Sauber” as they continue to work with advanced technologies.
Present at Rapid.Tech for today’s announcement in Erfurt were Steffen Schrodt, Head of Wind Tunnel Operations at Sauber F1 Team, and Christoph Hansen, who is responsible for their 3D printing efforts. The two presented details about the partnership during their keynote. Sauber will, over the next two years, invest in two MetalFAB1 systems as the F1 team extends into use of metals.
“We are delighted to welcome Additive Industries on board as our new technological partner at the Sauber F1 Team. Since this innovative fabrication technology is still in the early stages of industrialisation, it is an ideal moment for us to take on this challenge with our new partner. By doing so, we will gain and develop the necessary know-how in this area. It is our mission to set new standards,” said Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber F1 Team CEO and Team Principal as of the time of the agreement, whose departure from the company was announced on the heels of this partnership.
The machines Sauber is investing in will later be upgraded to full-size integrated multi-material MetalFAB1 systems for series production, the announcement notes. Through the partnership, Additive Industries will work with Sauber F1 Team to assist in the learning curve for the new technology, and building up capacity, as Sauber 3D prints components for its race cars and for unspecified third-party applications.
Discuss in the Additive Industries forum at 3DPB.com.[All images: Additive Industries]
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