Audi and EOS are expanding their range of applications for metal 3D printing. Currently the automaker uses EOS technology for 12 segments of 4 tools used for hot forming, and will further expand into more segments in the future. Audi uses the EOS M 400 system to create tooling in its press shop to make body panels for models such as the A4.
“We are now reaping the fruits of years of development within Audi’s production organization. Whenever conventional manufacturing methods reach their limit, we use additive manufacturing – which lets us meet quality standards and comply with production times,” said Matthias Herker, technical project manager at the Audi Metal 3D Printing Centre.
The shift from conventional manufacturing to AM is a critical step forward that shows both the quality and reliability of 3D printing technology today, and the design freedom advantages that additive manufacturing has to offer.
The partnership began back in 2016 when Audi began the construction of their 3d printing center. Both companies since then have been working to bring AM into production applications and realized that hot forming would be an ideal application.
The Audi Metal 3D Printing center in Germany, though, doesn’t just focus on hotforming and high pressure die casting tool inserts. The center has printed custom tools measuring as large as 5 by 3 meters. The size and complexity of these tools mean that 20-day-long print times are not uncommon. Audi points to the reliability of the EOS systems as a key factor in its successes. One of the key advantages in 3D printing these hot forming segments is the ability to design cooling channels providing better cooling inside the tool, allowing them to shorten cycle times while maintaining outstanding quality.
Tooling, jigs, fixtures, etc -- once again, one of the best ROI activities on a 3D Printer.
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