Social responsibility and production guarantee through AM in the automotive sector

In 2035, the curtain falls on the internal combustion engine in Europe: from then on, only zero-emission cars may be sold. The car industry is undergoing major changes due to the increase in electric vehicles and changes in consumer behavior. Not only the product (the car) must be sustainable, but also the entire production process. The Dutch automotive industry needs to move towards a fully sustainable and circular economy. Additive manufacturing fits well with the principles of the circular economy. Many 3D printing technologies make it possible to use recycled or bio-based materials, further reducing the environmental impact of car production. Additive manufacturing is interesting for the Dutch automotive industry for more reasons than socially responsible entrepreneurship.

Social responsibility and production guarantee through AM in the automotive sector

Zero Waste

In a circular economy, waste does not exist, and raw materials are reused again and again.
Additive Manufacturing helps optimize raw material use during the development and production process. The technique helps to develop a closed material chain.

Take as an example the metal printer which is a lot more sustainable than traditional ways of metal processing because no metal shavings are left over, Mark Massey, director of Additive Industries, told the Eindhovens Dagblad in an interview.

With a 3D metal printer, it is relatively easy to make complex parts in one piece. An engineer draws on the computer what the part should look like and feeds that information to the machine. The machine then goes to work. Lasers will shoot at a bed of metal powder. The powder particles melt together as a result. Then a new powder layer comes on top. Thus, powder layer by powder layer creates the product. The powder that remains is removed and reused.

Furthermore, metal printing can have quite an impact on the CO2 footprint of the Dutch manufacturing industry. That conclusion is drawn by TNO in the report 'The impact of smart and circular'. With this, the Dutch automotive industry can be a pioneer in the circular economy.

Flexible and innovative design approaches

Additive Manufacturing also enables companies to redesign products. Both in the design, production, and user phases, it allows efficient use of precious raw materials.

Major companies such as BMW, Volks­wagen, and Alfa Romeo work with 3D printing in their production lines. BMW chooses 3D printing because the technology offers design freedom. This has allowed engineers to optimize engines to reduce fuel consumption. In addition, the carmaker is now more flexible in production, also to implementing further innovations. The 3D printers print with inorganic material which is virtually emission-free, an important fact for BMW.

To raise awareness within the Dutch automotive industry, RAI Automotive Industry NL, in close cooperation with Brainport Eindhoven, is organizing a workshop on AM and circularity at the Brainport Industry Campus in Eindhoven on 22 September 2023. Come and listen to presentations by Hexagon, Fontys Hogescholen, and BOM (Brabantse Onwikkelings Maatschappij), among others. We will also bring a company visit to the following AM companies: Additive Industries, K3D, Hexagon, and AM-Flow. We will conclude with networking drinks.

Moreover, this workshop is a prelude to the FORMNEXT fair which will take place from 7 to 10 November in Frankfurt. Here we would like to welcome you as a guest at the Brainport stand. It is possible to visit this exhibition with a Dutch delegation under the guidance of RAI Automotive Industry NL. Click here for the FORMNEXT offer.