Additive Manufacturing for Customized Ride Comfort
Using the German RepRap x500 3D printer speeds up development processes for functional structural components at Sika Automotive. A wide variety of customizable solutions also offer the company new possibilities in terms of materials and designs.
Most of the current mid-size and full-size vehicle models offer sophisticated interior acoustics and perfect air quality. In order to protect the passengers from dust, humidity, and noise, several automotive manufacturers use Sika Automotive's high-tech materials for their body manufacturing. The solutions specialist for body bonding, sealing, attenuation, and reinforcement delivers extremely sturdy and yet lightweight chassis components to the OEMs.
Given the complex printing process requirements, KVT-Fastening and German RepRap developed a customized solution in collaboration with their customer, Sika Automotive. This involved modifications of the German RepRap x500 to optimize it for processing the heat-reactive thermoplastic SikaBaffle®, a material which is too soft for most extruders. Thanks to the x500 printer’s open material platform, the printing parameters could be adjusted precisely to this specialty thermoplastic.
> German RepRap x500
During the course of 2018, Sika Automotive and German RepRap ran successful tests with the FFF printer and achieved the necessary high process reliability. KVT-Fastening followed the pilot project and, in December of 2018, delivered the first of the two x500 printers ordered. Now that Sika Automotive is able to directly produce these components by dual printing, the development phases of such components have become much shorter for the company. Using efficient FFF technology, including the necessary processing of technically demanding materials, opens new doors for Sika Automotive.
KVT-Fastening can now customize any 3D printer in their portfolio to the requirements of individual customers. A team of specialists collaborates with the customer during the entire setup process – from consulting and initial tests to installation and a complete service program for the devices.