Daimler, Premium AEROTEC, and EOS are jointly developing a new production line for a next-gen, automated metal 3D printing process.
All three companies are part of the NextGenAM project that seeks to develop a digitalized manufacturing line for automotive and aerospace aluminium components.
According to Daimler, the ingenious and scalable additive production chain is fully automated right through to the point where the printed parts are mechanically sawn off the build platform.
At the heart of the platform is the EOS M 400-4 four-laser system for industrial 3D printing using metal materials.
A driverless transport system and robots ensure the smooth movement of the parts through every stage of the production line.
According to Daimler, the entire production process can run by itself, without operating personnel, from a central, autonomous control station.
All the machines are networked and the order data are transmitted to the control station, which then prioritizes the various build requests and allocates them to an AM system.
During the build process, the manufacturing status can be retrieved on a mobile device, independent of location.
Daimler asserts that all the data necessary for the production of a ‘digital twin’ can be accessed here, allowing for complete traceability, among other things.
A continuous 3D data string with integrated quality management also makes this production system one of the first examples of Industry 4.0.
The manufacturing process is completely scalable: the production lines can simply be duplicated to extend the capacity of the plant as well as bring costs down.
Parts for Daimler are already being produced on the new technology line at Premium AEROTEC.
The company’s truck unit, for example, is already using the first replacement part – a bracket for a truck diesel engine – manufactured at Premium AEROTEC.
Image and content: Daimler