3D Printing in the Automotive Industry: Driving Additive Manufacturing Forward with BASF + Shapeways

3D Printing in the Automotive Industry: Driving Additive Manufacturing Forward with BASF + Shapeways

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to the next Webinar  in the Shapeways series. Today we have BSF joining   us talking about 3D printing in the automotive  industry. I am Rhonda Gee, director of marketing   communications for Shape Wave, and today our  presenters are Steve Ward and Jeremy VAS,   and I'm going to turn it over to them. But before  I do, please look at your chat on the right   hand side. That is where you can enter questions,  and we will take them throughout the presentation.   If we do not get to your questions, we  will follow up individually with you.   And with that, I will turn it  over to Steve and Jeremy.  

Thanks, Rhonda. Steve We're, director of customer  success here at Shape Way. So essentially anything   to do with the customer experience, you're going  to work with me or my team to make sure we can   get you what you need. Cool. Thanks, Steve. Jeremy VAS here.   I'm with BASF Forward am the 3D printingsolutions  division of BASF. I have commercial responsibility   in North America for our powder bed fusion  products, so that's any SLS or MJS materials   we'll get to that in a little bit concurrently.  I have responsibilities for all of our  

materials in the automotive space. So I work  predominantly in automotive, and that's I guess,   why I was invited here today. So thanks for the  invitation. And looking forward to the chat.   We are starting off with a poll. If you look to   the right of your chat tab, you will see your  poll. And right now we want to know what your  

expertise in 3D printing is. We will give  everyone a minute or two to answer.   So my guess is you're definitely going to have  more of the intermediate just being shaped ways   BSF Webinar you never know. But that would be  my guess if we're pulling ahead of time.   Yeah, I'm with you. I think the automotive space  is ahead of many other industries. Automotive has   been using 3D printing for a lot longer. We'll  talk about this too, as we go through. Right. But   automotive has been using 3D printing probably  as long as any industry and is still one of   the major users. And so I expect that to come  out that way. Interesting. 65 35 so far.  

Great. Yeah.   Okay. I think that is a good number  for that. I will turn it over to   Steve to talk a little about Shape Way. Okay. So I'm guessing a lot of you probably do  

know who Shape Wave is or might have heard Shape  ways, but just to kind of give you a broad stroke,   Shape Wave makes industrial great added  manufacturing acceptable by digitizing the end   to end manufacturing process and by providing  a broad range of solutions to our customers,   utilizing eleven other manufacturing technologies  and more than 90 materials and finishes   with the ability to easily scale new  innovation. What does that mean? Essentially,   what we do is we take different ideas and products  and bring them to life using 3D printing and all   the rest of our technologies, even all the  way through traditional manufacturing.   And we've been around for quite a while now,  almost 14 years, you can see 20,000,003 D printed   parts, 6000 parts a day. So you can kind of give  an idea of the scale of our global operation.   And one of the things I'm the most proud of is  99% on time delivery. So not only are we able  

to scale this massive, massive level, but we're  actually able to get to the customers on time   for whatever project or whatever they're  looking to make happen. And with that,   let's turn it over to BASF. All right.   So BASF, I won't talk a lot about our parent  company. It's one of the largest chemical   companies in the world 65 billion Euro company  last year. Forecasts are looking a little bigger   this year. So that's good BASF. The brand is  Forward Am, which is the branded name for 3D  

printing solutions. It started out as the company  was established in September of 2017. As you see   here and really established as a new business arm  of BASF headquarters are in gorgeous Heidelberg,   Germany, which is just outside of Ludwighaven,  which is the global headquarters for BASF.   Our team globally just topped 200 folks. And  all of us are dedicated in one form or another,   whether that be commercial or technical,  dedicated to the additive manufacturing space.   And we'll talk in a little bit about the different  ways that we BSF engage the market. Probably one  

of the most significant things that I'd like to  talk about in this introduction is our application   technology centers. So we have three of these  ATCs we're calling them exclusively focused on   customer projects and customer applications that  are bringing us into industrialization.   So the first one that was realized was the one in  Heidelberg and that one has been open since 2018.   The next one that opened was in Shanghai,  and that one has been opened since 2019.   And the one in North America is in Detroit.  So right in the heart of the auto industry,  

and that one will open in September of this  year. We've got those technology centers,   and each one has a nice complement of  equipment and engineers to prove out ideas   as we move forward. So we'll talk a little  bit about that in the next slide.   So for BASF, Forward Am, our focus  industries and where we look first to develop   applications are in these are in no particular  order but consumer goods, medical and dental   space, automotive and transportation. And then, of  course, aerospace. And just to talk a little bit   more about each one of these on the consumer good  side, the opportunities that we're looking for,   there are more into production and in mass  customization. Those types of applications   got some exciting ones that will be able to  publicize soon. Medical and dental, of course,   is more in the back end process side of  things, automotive and transportation is   what we're going to focus on today. So I won't be labor at that point here  

and then, of course, aerospace. We're seeing good  success in aerospace. As far as Tooling goes.   Our material portfolio doesn't complement the  flight worthy but Tooling and some of those   service parts and things like that. We've had some  good success with other areas. We're willing to   explore industrial cosmetics, construction  products, robotics, which gets into Tooling   some. And we'll talk about Tooling as we go  through today as well. And then, of course,   drones. So those are kind of a broad picture, a  broad overview of what we are, what we're after   as far as industry applications go. So let's dive into the automotive side. Oh,   no, we're going to dive into the automotive  right after we dive into the materials,   go ahead and pop over the materials, slide around.  Thank you. So our technologies and materials,  

we focus on these areas for powder  bed fusion. We have, of course,   selective laser centering systems, SLS, commonly  known, and then also the multi jet fusion process   or high speed centering. Mjf is, of course, the HP  brand. But there are other manufacturers out there   for the high speed centering or MJF process. See, the polypropylene and the TPU are ones right   on top there. And that's where we focus for  the MJF for selective laser centering. We have  

all of these materials available for the SLS  platforms. So the Polypropylene and the TPU,   the PA six family, which includes a mineral fill,  the flame retardant, and also the PA Six meat,   is a true PA Six material and very strong and  very heat resistance resistant PA Eleven family,   of course, and also our TPU, which is  available for both Emjf and SLS.   On the Filament side, we do have the Ultrafuse,  the standard filaments. So what you would see in   from any other offering PLA ABS. But then we also  do have a broad range of engineering grade and   high temperature filaments. And then, of course,  what we're seeing the most traction in right now  

is our metal filament. So we have a 316 L and  a 17 four for fused filament fabrication or   the FDM process. Very interesting for a lot of  applications. Our photopolymers are probably the   ones that are growing the fastest right now,  as far as technological advancements go.   So we have the ultra cure, the 3D, which is  the rigid, and we've also got the tuft. And  

then we've got flexibles and elastomers coming  through. So there's a fourth technology that's   growing right now, and that's called services.  So in that is coming post processing solutions,   so that'll be down the road. And then there's also  a design service. And so we won't delve too much   into that too deeply into that today. But we do  have an ultrasound design service which can help  

with complex additive design processes. And so that's something that if you've got a   complex process, especially in ladder structures  or in special load cases, it's something that   we can really help out with. So that kind of  gives you a broad overview of the technologies   and materials from BASF. Go ahead. Rhonda. We have a question of the difference between the   TPU on the SLS and the MJS. Yeah. So the base formulation  

is the same or very similar. There are some  slight differences because of the difference   in processing. Right. There's a difference in  how an SLS machine processes material versus an   MJF performance part. Performance is very close.  There are a couple of factors that are different   depending on how you choose to measure the Shore  hardness. The SLS can be a little bit harder,   but again, with 3D printing, you  can change that dramatically with   just how you handle the geometry. So on balance,  performance is very similar between the two.   And if I'm correct for all these different  materials, these are all agnostic. Right. These  

can work on all the different machines out there  for all the different OEMs and printers.   Yeah. For the most part, that's true. The MJF  process is a little more closed than some,   but it still is quite open for the FFF  Filaments. That's exactly true. Any   open system will run them. They come in standard  sizes and same with photo polymers.   Yeah. So this is what we're talking about earlier.   This is from the Wooler's report. And you can see  here that the top users of added manufacturing  

automotive, obviously, is on top of that list.  And if you drill down on the right, I think you   can see a little bit more about why that is still  the vast majority of what's being used out there   is prototypes and prototyping, and obviously  still a viable option. And we're actually making   great strides in bringing those prototypes  even closer to where they need to be.   Production is in the 49% and then R and B, which  of course supports everything above it is 42. So   you kind of get an idea there of how automotive  and how automotive uses fit into the big picture.  

And actually, as we go through today, we have  some really good examples of prototyping and   some production, and then also the spare parts.  And that's really an interesting thing to talk   about in 3D printing is to start thinking about  this idea of being a digital inventory. And so   I think that's where we land today is with this  idea of beginning down the road of having files   instead of on hand instead of spare parts  and being able to print on demand.   I know that's something that Shapeways  does now with some of their customers   in some other industries. So  it's an exciting application.   This is a trick question. We're going to see what everyone's answer  

is. So we will give everyone a moment to answer  this question. So please go to your polls tab.   Let's see. Well, I think the last slide kind of helps   you out a little bit because it kind of gives you  just the scale right. Of all the different things,   don't want to give too much away there. But I  do think you got a little bit of a second.  

I think you're influencing some answers here as  I'm watching the watching them come through live.   That's cool. Okay. Well, with that,   I will go to the next one, and you can  talk about all of the applications.   Yeah. So this is one of my favorite  

slides to show both internally at BASF and  externally with customers when I'm sitting   down with especially folks that are deep in the  automotive world, none of this is a surprise. But   elsewhere I do find a real high level of interest  with this. So this slide actually comes from BSF   corporate. And these are all of the ways that  BSF corporate interacts with the automotive   industry. So if you look around there, you'll  see that we've got these little blue squares  

rectangles around different materials. So if you take those squares out, this is a   slide that BASF corporate uses. So we added our  little squares there to highlight the materials   that we have available that are currently  in use in automotive production. Right.   Just gives you an idea of PC ABS. Pma  polypropylene, of course, is a huge part   of manufacturing. But as you go around, you can  see that we've got all kinds of opportunity for  

functional prototyping, for replacement  parts, even for some tooling applications   where we can utilize similar material or  compatible materials to aid in assembly.   So, yeah, this is one of those slides that  really can tend to get people thinking and   asking questions about how do I use additive now  and how could I be using additive in the future?   So I don't know if it kicked up any questions,  Rhonda, but it is kind of an interesting slide,   and we can bounce back, too, if there  are other questions we touched on this,   the strategies that we use for open and  moderate and closed systems. So BASF   strives to work with the open print systems. And so that is any printer manufacturer that keeps   their parameters and their settings open so that  you can utilize whatever material that you want   there's positives and negatives. Right. You  may have more failures as you're learning,   but you also have a broad range of materials  available with an open print system.   Our cooperation with hardware manufacturers.  We've chosen some. We talked about HP already  

where we're working together to create the best  possible print outcomes. And in that instance,   you'll see an addition to the label that says  Enabled by or powered by Forward Am.   And that indicates that we've worked  with that manufacturer to make sure   that the materials and machine combination  are the best that they can be. And then closed   systems. We don't participate right now with  any of additive manufacturing that have closed  

systems. That's just a choice that BASF has made  strategically. And that's where we're at Steve,   I know you brought this up earlier. Anything there  any other questions or clarity needed there.   Well, first of all, I love the idea of just  making it open, right. And really not having it   closed off to anybody. That really just makes  sure that you're not closing off innovation.   And you're just really kind of enabling everybody  to use all the different materials. Can you give   an example of one that's enabled by 04:00  a.m. That you're seeing out in the market  

that you specifically went together with a  company to kind of produce the best material?   Yeah. Absolutely. The prime example that's  commercialized right now. And out there is   the TPU one. And that's the TPU for the HP system.  So that was about a four and a half year process   of sampling and testing with HP. And so  we actually have a complimentary system   in our Application Technology Center in  Heidelberg. And HP, of course, has multiple  

teams around the world. And we worked together  with our Application Technology Center and HP   to make sure that that material was formulated  and ready to go for the HP 5200 series.   Wow. You said four and a half years. Yeah. It was about four and a half years, correct.   Okay. That was in the works before BASF 3D  Print Solutions was officially started.   And by the way, PPU for everybody out there is one  of the flexible materials that allows you ability   to kind of get a little flex when building. Yeah. Thanks. That's a good idea. Tpu is   thermoplastic Urethane, of course. And it's  one of those elastomers really works.  

Thank you. We have another poll question. We  will give everyone a few moments to fill in.   Where do you think 3D printing is currently  being used in the automotive industry?   Well, I know. I think back to, like, when I got  my first car in high school, and I think of,   like, all the little interior, personalization  things you can do. It'll be dating me. But I   was driving a manual so you could even think of,  like, your actual drive chapstick changing gears.   It's a fun, personalization little skull  on top of it or something like that.   Absolutely. Yeah. To skew the results of everything.  

Well, okay, fine. We can talk about form  fitting from a prototype perspective.   In prototypes is our most popular  answer. So with that, let's move   into what the applications actually are. Yeah. And so this slide, this information is   really going to really reflect what we  just saw in the poll question. Right.  

With this, I always like to talk about  technological readiness level the TRL,   because it really gives us a good indication of  what we can do. What's ready today? What's coming   soon and what's way off in the future? Right. Ford  used to always talk about now, near and far. This   is kind of that same idea. What's now? What's near  what's far? We don't have any far on here.   It's all now and near. So that's good in the  prototype section. And we'll talk about each   of these in a little bit. But we really do have  a high TRL for design prototypes. Of course,  

that's been in place for years. Functional  prototypes. And that picture that you see, there's   an interesting story when it comes to functional  prototypes. It's probably not what you think,   but it's really interesting. And then we're just  now, especially with Polypropylene moving into  

this idea of working on preseries or, as  we would call them, in North America.   Test mules. We do a new design model. You've got  to do tens or hundreds of test mules and really   good options. There jigs and fixtures. We'll  skip to the other side, jigs and fixtures again,   ready to go and being used every day. This is  probably the least exciting application for 3D   printing. It doesn't hit the Wall Street Journal,  but it's also the thing that just keeps chugging   and keeps working and keeps going and going  and going. And it's making a huge difference  

in the assembly side of automotive. Right. If you look at transportation AIDS,   that gripper, that's in the picture there  we want to talk about it is more industrial,   but that's utilized to move heavy objects around  the factory. Right. But it's made out of CPU,   so you don't scratch anything. The robotic  gripper is the same way. It can be much  

smaller and used as end of arm. And then, of  course, assembly fixtures. And we'll talk about   that as we're putting things together where our  technological readiness level is in the near is   in 3D printed foams special series. You'll see in the next year or two,   a 3D printed portion of a seat and  some other applications like that   spare parts. Of course, we'll touch on that today.  We have some work to do with materials to get to   the point where they're really functional and then  the individualization. And that's something that   I think the technologies here. And we've got a  couple of projects that are getting really close  

and we'll be able to do a lot of personalization  in both interior and exterior. This kind of   gives you the big picture, right. The broad overview of where we've got   more readiness and what we have to  talk about today. Let's dive in Rhonda.   All right. So I wanted to start off with this  one because it really is kind of that classic   use for 3D printing. This is where  serialithography, of course, in the last   20 years really has been used most effectively in  automotive is with appearance prototypes, right.  

Because you can make large parts, you can make  them relatively quickly. You can make them of high   quality. And the challenge now is to keep getting  the finished quality, the accuracy, keep getting   those things better and better and better. So we can keep driving the price of those down.   So one of the companies we're working with  is Photocentric and their Magna Machine,   which is coming is large size. Right. The  challenge is to have a big part that is of   high quality that can be utilized, and you can  kind of see in that. Hopefully you maybe have  

a bigger monitor than I do. But that panel that's  called out there is part of the rocker panel on an   example vehicle and coming to the finish process  with a part that doesn't need to be sand, it   doesn't need to have any special treatment other  than just being coated like the rest of the body   panels really leaves us with a huge efficiency  gain in this appearance prototype market.   So that kind of touches on the appearance  prototypes application here.   When you say, like a large format prototype,  is this a big part? Like, how big is this   prototype panel? Because what I'm looking  at almost looks like a tank over here.   The bigger picture. It's a Camper van. So it's on  a Sprinter, like a diamond or Sprinter chassis. So   that part is probably at its largest  extent is probably 18 inches by 20 inches.  

Okay, so pretty good size. How   about the coding? Yeah, in this application,   the coding is going to be just standard  automotive surface prep would is cleaning   just as you would before you paint any vehicle.  But the coding is just standard automotive,   same process they would use to do the rest. This  is a little bit different, a little bit different   take on a functional prototype. So rather than  an appearance model, rather than talking about   appearance, the functionality here is in helping  to move from a metal or alloy into a polymer for   production. In the meantime, what this is  it's a high voltage inverter housing for an EV   and for that to work properly. Of course, you've got to have electromagnetic  

shielding. So there's a challenge with polymers  and not providing any electromagnetic shielding.   So a coating was identified that was much lighter  than creating this part out of solid aluminum. And   the PA six mineral filled was the material that  was identified that could function as a substrate   that would hold up to both the coding process, but  then also hold up to the part being in use. And so   these parts were printed and then had a thin  metallic coating applied afterwards, much like   a chroming process, but with the  PA six as the substrate.  

And so this was a waypoint in moving from this  housing being made from aluminum and going into   production in aluminum and going into production  in a PA six injection molding material and then   being coated with the metalizing process. So it's  a waypoint a functional prototype to get us from   something that's an alloy and getting it  into something that's a polymer in automotive   weight reduction is King. And so we're looking  at a 50% weight reduction, especially in EVs.   The other functional prototype, this  is the one I talked about earlier.   This one is super interesting. So once again,  company was looking to transition from a metal to   a polymer to do engine mounts, and the material  was selected was PA six. Now this is not about   printing engine mounts for production. This is  about a design validation problem that came up  

where Daimler was needed. I believe they needed  ten or twelve of these engine mounts to complete   noise, vibration and harshness testing.  And the injection molding tool was   months away. And so BSF was commissioned to print  parts that could be used for NVH testing.   And the challenge here is that the parts  needed to be designed so that they would   accurately represent how the injection molded  parts would function. Once they were molded   and assembled on the vehicle, we were able to  use the ultrasom software that we talked about   a little bit earlier. We were able to use the  Ultra SIM software and create an accurate model   that really functioned exactly like the molded  one would held up to the rigors of testing,   and they were able to complete the NVH testing  on schedule, kept the rest of the design   and production process in motion. And then once the injection molding tool  

was done, we were able to drop in the finished  parts and keep the whole process moving along.   So it's a really fascinating story and really  kept dimeler on track for a new vehicle launch.   Here's another one that we've had. We've had  some really good success with and this one,   the challenge is really twofold. Right. So  there's two things here that we're working  

on. There's two things here, two problems that  can be solved. Sometimes they're in parallel,   and sometimes they're in series. Right. So the first problem is functional   prototypes for, like, a design validation. And  that was what I threw out earlier with the test   mules. So you have a new design and especially  in the EV market and in the self driving cars,  

autonomous vehicles. That's what I'm supposed  to say in the autonomous vehicle market as well.   Washer bottles, fluid containers are  becoming more and more and more important   to keep cameras clean. And they're also becoming  more and more complex. So being able to create   custom structures, being able to test out  those structures, being able to slip them into   new design vehicles and being able to test that  how that all functions is really important.   Another thing that's important about that is  being able to Weld fittings into it. So you   have a standard fitting that's needed for, like, a  de gas bottle or even a washer bottle. You want to   be able to use that standard fitting that might  change depending on geography or other things.  

And so the polypropylene, both the MJF and the  SLS polypropylene. Weld very well. So you can   Weld on tabs. You can Weld on fittings. You can  even print the bottle in half, and Weld together.   So that's a fantastic way that we've been able  to solve the functional prototype problem.   The other problem that we see, and this is  probably one that's even more expensive and   that is in the plant startup process. So  when a new model line is being started,   you have all of these different things that  have to come into play. And a lot of them  

are blow molded polypropylene. And so you can  print and print and use analogs as a stand in   to either validate the manufacturing process  or even to begin the manufacturing process.   So you don't have $100,000 an hour worth of  machines and people standing around waiting   for one injection molding tool to be finished so  that the blow molded parts can come in again.   The same idea where we can do a lot of  welding. We can do a lot of fastening to   this material. It accepts polypropylene to  be welded. It accepts PA twelve. Basically,  

any chemically compatible material will Weld to  it the welds we've also found are better than the   better strength than the parent material. So as  we do burst testing and things like that, we're   finding that failures come in the parent material  and not in the well joints. So it's been a very   robust material. We've been able to solve a lot  of problems in those two areas, especially.  

It's amazing that 3D technology has gotten to  the point where you don't have any porosity   issues when creating stuff that holds liquid. It's  really amazing how far the technology comes.   Yeah. Our polypropylene specifically is  one of the few materials out there that   is both air and watertight once printed, so  there's no post processing necessary for that   material to be non porous, so it will hold water,  it will hold air and it will hold pressure.  

Amazing. This is one of my favorites that   keeps growing and keeps building. We've got  a project going right now with an OEM that's   super exciting around this. So the whole world of  lattice structures in 3D printing is at the AMA  

conference. I did an entire hour long presentation  on it. I didn't even scratch the surface.   But what you can do with lattice structures and  3D printing, the combination is quite amazing.   You can tune responses for energy return for  energy absorption. Obviously, you can customize   hard soft depending on different points. So you see this headrest, you have a spot in   the center that's very soft, but then area around  the outside where you need some energy absorption,   which is harder. But in the event of an  impact, it's going to be an absorber,   and it's going to help control loads. What you  can do with the ladder structure is really quite  

amazing for comfort, for safety. And in this case,  we worked on a headrest and seat components where   the lattice structure was made for comfort. Right.   So different grades of vehicles have different  comfort requirements. You're less expensive   vehicles. Typically, you're going to  have a harder headrest, harder seats  

built for durability. As you move up in  that process, you're going to have softer   seats. Everything's just going to be a little  bit more comfortable. So you can do that with the   same material, just different build strategies.  And then you can also create an open structure,   an open internal structure that allows heating and  cooling to move through the entire seat. So I like   my heated and cooled seats the way they are now,  but with the ability to move air and distribute   it throughout the entire surface is just kind of  that next step in comfort and technology.   Here again, we use the Ultrason software to create  the responses that we needed to create the airflow   that we needed, and we and the customer chose.  You can see that this is an MJF process because  

the TPU one material for the MJF process is so  repeatable and has such good performance over   hundreds and hundreds of build cycles. So  we wanted to develop something that was   pointed in the right direction for an  application where we could actually be on car   in a program to be able to do that. And if you want to slip to the next slide Rhonda,   we also went after the after some certifications  to be able to go into the vehicle interiors. Our   TPU material has passed. Here what you can see on  these tests. Specifically for vehicle interiors.   You can see on the VOC and the fog. We had a  pass with a coding, and so all of this detailed  

information. If you have an application, if  you have an idea and you're serious about it,   it sounds like the 18, right. If you need help  and you can find them, maybe you can hire.   But, yeah, this is stuff that's understandably  NBA protected. But if you have an application,   my contact information will be at the end here.  By all means, reach out and let's chat. We can   make this all this and more detail available, but  we do have those interior tests passed, and we're   in a good place to be able to take advantage  of applications like this with interiors.  

Now, when this is like this data is like  particulates in the air. Right. Is that   what this is specifically talking about? Yes. Exactly. So these are standards of VOC   conensible substances. As you can see, they're  formaldehyde and just general odor, which means   you don't get the new car smell because the  new car smell basically is formaldehyde.   No. Never knew that. Yeah. About TPU. Have you  

ever coated it with metal?   No. To my knowledge, you definitely lose the  elastomeric properties with a metalized coating,   but there's a potential, I think maybe  for some type of masking operation,   right where you could build into, especially  even build into the structure of the part   a masking apparatus that could allow you if you  wanted to have a portion. So let's say you're   working on a flexible interior badge or maybe a  threshold or something like that. And you want   to have a piece of that metal coated. Obviously,  you'll lose your last American properties, but I  

don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. I'm also not a chemist.   Okay. Thank you.   So this is one of those applications that we're  talking about. That just isn't that terribly,   terribly exciting. This kind of stuff doesn't  get presented in the board meetings as a raw   application. But this is one of those ways  that 3D printing is being used every day.   This is a patented product from a company  called Xtoll. They do a lot of custom  

custom machines for plastic assembly, and they  needed to solve a problem where they needed a   workholding device that was inexpensive, easy  to change out and super easy to customize.   And so for that, they chose the TPU. So you can  see that just the very end of that workholding   device is a little bit different color. And that  is the TPU. The TPU has been tested to not Mar,  

not scratch it'll, protect Class A surfaces.  There's a video floating around out there   for my buddy Paul DeWise, who did a  test of, I think, 100,000 cycles of   pressing a Class A badge into a TPU holder and did  it 100,000 times and kept shimming it to make it   and try to rub on the edge of the  TPU and try to damage it.   No damage to the. No damage to the badge  whatsoever other than he shimmed it far   enough that a piece of the badge broke off, but  no scratching whatsoever. So this material is  

able to hold Class A finishes, it's, able  to hold them in place. And as you can see,   there's a tiny little picture. So it's kind of  hard to see. But it's just the very tip of that   workholding device. So if the geometry changes in  your finished piece, you don't have to start over.   You can just change those workholding into factors  and make a process change very quickly.  

Big benefits here. Of course, costing is within 5%  of traditional manufacturing, which is a big deal.   Knowing that you don't need to create  a mold, you can go to direct print.   And like I said, part changes only require that  TPU. And it's also user serviceable. Right?   So you've got a part change, or even if you've  got a part that wears out, you don't have to have   a technician come in, take the entire tool out  of service to replace those into factors. They  

have an internal locking system in them. The operator, the person running the machine   can see that there's a damage piece there. Grab  a hold of it, pull it off, slide the new one on,   and they're back running. So literally zero  downtime. It's been a neat one to explore.   This one is the spare parts application,  right that we were talking about earlier.   So this is one that's been proven out. This is a  project we worked with folks at General Motors.  

So this is the part that they're required  to be able to produce it's a recall part   for early 90s, full size Chevy Silverado. I owned a 1019 94 Chevy Silverado probably needed   this. It's long gone, but they're required to  have this part in hand. And so if they needed to   produce this part. Traditionally, we were looking  at a $20,000 tool cost and then the cost of  

carrying inventory or, Alternatively, the cost of  paying an injection molding house to do short run.   So literally, with this application, the minimum  order quantity is one that is all they need.   And so it's this idea of allowing GM  to carry a digital stock of parts,   print on demand and eliminate the tooling,  eliminate the warehouse space requirements.  

Now, as we kind of take this and we look into  the future. So we look into the far. We can see   companies like Shapeways getting involved in this  and being able to do this production on demand,   being able to do this production close to where  the parts are needed. And that's kind of one   of the ways that this stuff fits together  for us, right? Is things like this where   we start to prove out applications  like this, and then we have partners   that are qualified and able to print and help  with that idea of that digital inventory.   So this is a really exciting one.  It's a ways down the line for   large scale, but it's a perfect proof of  concept, and it was a fun one to work on.   All right.

2022-01-09 05:35

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