AIC Opens Additive Manufacturing Centre

Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) has unveiled its new facility which provides additive manufacturing, a crucial component of the centre’s capability.

The AIC says additive manufacturing allows designers to test product fitment, identify issues or potential design problems and to study, improve and optimise. 3D printers can produce intricate and difficult designs that are not simple or cheaply replicated with regular equipment or production techniques.

The AIC’s new Additive Manufacturing Centre has three different printers, each providing different options for automotive product developers to suit their requirements.

AIC said for companies that are prototyping or want to produce small production runs, the HP Jet Fusion 580 Colour can create strong, useable parts and can print in colour.  An example of a part created in the 3D printer is a brake duct which is intricate and has a thin wall, making it well suited to additive manufacturing.

The company says it has purchased a 3D Systems Figure 4 for smaller part prototyping, short production runs and quality creations with a high level of surface detail. The Figure 4 uses stereolithography to create parts that may ordinarily be injection moulded, and a variety of resins are available to produce parts with varying flexibility, from rubberised to nylon.

AIC added that the Stratasys F370 is an FDM machine with a large build bed, capable of producing larger creations quickly and is another strong option for prototyping. Typical uses for the machine are large packaging studies where bulk volume accuracy is more important than detailed surface finish.

“Additive manufacturing is an integral part of our new product development,” said Heath Moore, General Manager at Harrop Engineering. “It is critical for us being able to get to market sooner with a product that has been tested and validated before full production occurs. The result is savings in time and costs throughout our production process.”

The AIC additive manufacturing facilities have an in-house fleet of new production vehicles and a fully equipped workshop. Companies will be able to get 3D scan information and measurements to assist CAD creation. After printing, companies can test-fit products to the AIC fleet vehicles.

“Our purpose is to assist business to bring products to market,” said Luke Truskinger, Managing Director at AIC. “Additive manufacturing is one important service offering that provides new opportunities to aftermarket companies across Australia.”