At the beginning of April, Carbon – a company which developed an innovative ultrafast continuous liquid interface production technology – CLIP, presented M1 – its final version. Although, we were waiting for it over one year from the presentation of the technology, a lot of companies use it. Among them we can find technical giants like: Ford, BMW, Johnson&Johnson or Legacy Effects. Another giant joined them in the end of 2015 – Delphi. Now, it wants to share its opinion about the 3D printer.
Delphi Automotive is one of the biggest manufacturers of car parts in the world. The company uses plenty of 3D printing technologies to create prototypes, however, when it tested CLIP, it began to consider to start small series production, because of the three main advantages, which gives us this technology – it’s super quick, there are no layers and an interesting offer of resins.
The resins are hardened with UV light during 3D printing, but it comes to chemical reactions, with are activated by raised temperature. Thanks to that, a resistance of 3D printed details is higher and they look similar to models manufactured in injection moulding. That is why, Delphi started to ponder over introduce the CLIP technology to production.
Delphi’s manager of additive manufacturing development, Jerry Rhinehart comments on their work with 3D printers M1
We’re excited to expand our work with the M1 to functional prototyping—something we haven’t been able to do until now—and to explore new manufacturing opportunities as a whole. It’s all about the materials and mechanical properties that we can achieve with Carbon’s technology. Traditional materials only provided about 50 percent of the mechanical properties we need to produce functional and final parts. We’re currently using the M1 on a project to install a batch of connectors and other electrical components into a 25-car fleet this June for road and validation tests.
Jerry Rhinehart – Delphi Automotive
Among the parts being 3D printed by Delphi are wiring grommets, made from Carbon’s elastomeric polyurethane (EPU) material; electrical connectors, made with rigid polyurethane (RPU); and housings made from flexible polyurethane (FPU) to protect objects during product assembly. In addition to the mechanical properties possible with CLIP, the resolution that can be achieved without visible layers also leaves CLIP-printed prototypes resembling their end products. The accuracy of the technology is, therefore, ideal for producing such objects as electrical connectors, which are complex and feature locking mechanisms that may not be possible with 3D printing processes that create less refined products.
As far, as small series production is considered, Delphi is considering to launch totally new type of products, which require short production runs. It chooses the same way, that another automotive an aircraft concerns, with a difference, that it uses light hardened resins, instead of metal. The case studies released by Carbon so far demonstrate the M1 as a 3D printer ideal for producing prototypes that accurately resemble mass manufactured components. It seems to possible, that in the future we will buy/order parts, manufactured with 3D printers destinet to mass production…