Volkswagen Developing 3D Printing Process For Mass Production

Volkswagen is working on a new process for 3D printing to be used in mass production. The company says the new Metal Jet process by printer manufacturer HP simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing, improving productivity by up to 50 times faster compared to other 3D printing methods.

With the announcement, Volkswagen is declaring 3D printing as mass-production ready in automotive industry. Together with printer manufacturer HP and component manufacturer GKN Powder Metallurgy, the German marque is pressing ahead with the development of the technology for mass production. The partners presented the new process for the first time at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago this week.

Dr Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen, said: “Automotive production is facing major challenges: our customers are increasingly expecting more personalisation options. At the same time, complexity is increasing with the number of new models. That’s why we are relying on state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a smooth and fast production. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in manufacturing of individual parts.”

Volkswagen says one of its vehicles is manufactured from 6000 to 8000 different parts. While previous 3D printing processes can only be used for the special production of individual parts or prototypes, the additive 3D Metal Jet technology from HP enables the production of a large number of parts using 3D printing without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools. This significantly reduces the time required to manufacture parts, making the process a serious consideration for the production of large quantities of parts in a short period of time.

“That’s why the new HP Metal Jet platform is an important step into the future for us as an automotive manufacturer, but also for the entire industry, and we look forward to helping shape this development and thus creating further added value for our customers in the future,” Dr Goede continued.

In collaboration with HP and GKN, Volkswagen is further developing the technology so that design elements can be printed in a small series at first. This will be required to produce individualised design parts such as tailgate lettering, special gear knobs or keys with personalised lettering for customers without a great deal of effort. Volkswagen say the plan is to be capable of offering this type of individualisation proposition to customers as soon as possible.

As early as next year, GKN says it intends to establish a process chain geared toward automotive production in collaboration with Volkswagen. The first small (design) components will be used to further develop the technology so that the first structural components for mass-production vehicles can be printed within two to three years.

“A complete vehicle will probably not be manufactured by a 3D printer any time soon, but the number and size of parts from the 3D printer will increase significantly,” explained Dr Goede. “Our goal is to integrate printed structural parts into the next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible. In the long term, we expect a continuous increase in unit numbers, part sizes and technical requirements – right up to soccer-size parts of over 100,000 units per year.”

According to Volkswagen, the new 3D printing process using the HP Metal Jet process is an additive process in which parts are produced layer by layer using a powder and binder. The component is then ‘baked’ into a metallic component using a sintering process. This differs from previous processes in which powder is melted by means of a laser.

Tander To Launch At Automechanika Frankfurt

A new internationally-distributed brand for automotive paint professionals, Tander, will be launched at Automechanika in Frankfurt, Germany next month.

Tander’s wide range of products will cover the complete paint process, from personal and spray booth protection to paint application products. The company says it aims to deliver innovative high-quality products that are affordable and convenient to use.

Tander says its personal protection products are comfortable, convenient and guarantee personal safety throughout the working day.

To prevent paint contamination, the company’s spray booth coatings will feature a ‘tacky’ formula that makes dust and dirt cling to the booth’s walls and floor, while leak-free covering products protect parts and ensure a spotless surface.

Tander says its products are offered in manageable packing units to suit all sized businesses.

A new teaser website has been set up at www.tander.com, with the full site likely to go live once the brand launches.

AkzoNobel Puts The Blue Back Into Bluebird

The restoration of Donald Campbell’s record-breaking hydroplane, Bluebird, is complete thanks to AkzoNobel and its marine brand, International, which supplied the project with Perfection Pro paint in the vessel’s original shade of blue.

“We spent 10 years being supplied with samples of nearly, but not-quite versions of Bluebird blue, RAL 5009, however it wasn’t until we uncorked our tins of Perfection Pro that we actually clapped eyes on her true colour. Now that was impressive,” said Bluebird restoration project leader, Bill Smith.

Bluebird crashed on Coniston Water in 1967. Decades later, diver and enthusiast Smith took a keen interest in the story and conducted extensive searches over a period of four years. He located and salvaged the wreckage in 2001. Together with a team of volunteers, Smith restored Bluebird at a workshop in the northeast of England.

The hydroplane was blasted and coated with AkzoNobel’s International Interzinc 72 protective coating and Interpon 610 TGIC-free polyester powder coating. The bodywork was rebuilt and completed using Cromadex 903 Etch Primer, Cromadex 750 Grey Primer and International Perfection Pro yacht topcoat.

“I’m very proud that we’re able to be part of this incredible restoration project,” said Chris Panton, Area Sales Manager, AkzoNobel Cromadex Newcastle. “The Cromadex team has been a part of the project for several years, supplying various products from AkzoNobel’s extensive portfolio of liquid and powder coatings.”

Fifty years after Campbell died trying to break his own water speed record, Bluebird is making a return to the water this UK summer. The hydroplane will be taken to Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute in Scotland for personnel training in launching, landing, lifting, and piloting, as well as to check for hull leaks. Eventually the team hopes to display the boat at speed on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

Ferrari Introduces The World’s First Low-Bake Paint Technology

Thanks to an on-going collaboration with PPG, Ferrari has introduced an innovative low temperature paint system, making the Prancing Horse the world’s first car manufacturer to adopt the new Low Cure clear coat technology.

The new two-component paint system incorporates a specially formulated clear coat which makes it possible for the car to be baked at 100°C instead of 150°C, cutting energy costs and enhancing the sustainability of the process.

The Low Cure resins contain a new hardener which enhances the chemical and mechanical resistance of the coating. The new formula also boosts cross-coat linking which simultaneously increases chemical hydrophobicity and reduces water permeability.

Additionally, the new solution makes it possible to bake carbon-fibre and composite components together with the bodyshell, resulting in colour uniformity between the various body components.

Thanks to the new technology, Ferrari has industrialised a process to produce at least 61 different basecoat colours by combining metallic basecoats with a gloss or matte pigmented clear coat.

Nissan To Use Ultra-Strong, High-Formability Steel In More Vehicles

Nissan will expand the use of a new type of steel that enhances fuel efficiency and driving performance by lowering vehicle weight.

First seen in the Infiniti QX50 midsize SUV, the new material combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions.

Featuring a tensile strength of 980MPa, the material was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. While maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision, the steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel. The ability for the steel to be cold pressed makes it suitable for mass production which will help contain increases in vehicle costs.

According to Nissan, the Infiniti QX50, which went on sale in the US in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980MPa ultra-high tensile strength steel. The material is also used in a range of other body frame parts.

Nissan launched a sustainability plan in June that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40 per cent by 2022, compared with 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25 per cent of the company’s ‘vehicle parts by weight’. The material makes up 27 per cent of the new QX50.

AkzoNobel Combines Digital Tools For Better Colour-Matching

A new standard in quick and reliable advanced colour-matching is available to vehicle body shops after AkzoNobel combined two of its most innovative tools into a single system.

The new offering combines the company’s Automatchic hand-held spectrophotometer with its MIXIT digital colour retrieval technology. Now known as Automatchic in MIXIT, the system creates a single, seamless workflow which allows customers to precisely identify any colour from an ever-expanding database of more than two million.

“We’re always looking for new ways to help our vehicle refinish customers access digital colour technology and gain maximum advantage from our expertise,” explained Peter Tomlinson, Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business.

“Our huge cloud database of more than two million colours means we can provide the perfect colour match and formula, optimized for any individual vehicle. With Automatchic in MIXIT, customers can now measure and match colour with superior accuracy even faster, making it a valuable asset for any vehicle refinish body shop.”

Tailor-made to streamline operations, Automatchic in MIXIT’s ability to improve both accuracy and speed helps to increase profitability and throughput while reducing waste. This is part of AkzoNobel’s commitment to deliver 100 per cent digital colour solutions for its vehicle refinishes customers.

For more information, visit Colorvation.com

New Cromax Accelerator Speeds Up Air-Drying

Cromax has developed a new accelerator that helps Cromax High Productive Surfacers dry faster at ambient temperatures.

High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 changes the drying properties of High Productive Surfacer 1051R (white) and High Productive Surfacer 1057R (black) to cut air-drying times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes at 20°C, which is especially effective during the cooler months of the year.

“It’s important to us to support our refinishers’ aim of increased throughput and productivity, and the introduction of a dedicated High Productive Accelerator for our High Productive Surfacers certainly does just that,” said Jim Iliopoulos, Axalta’s Product and Technical Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 is mixed with the High Productive Surfacers, for up to three coats, wet-on-wet with no flash-off times. This eliminates between 10 and 20 minutes of unproductive flash-off time, significantly improves the speed of overall application and drying, and makes the refinish process more efficient and economical, whilst also helping to save energy.”

The High Productive Surfacer is mixed with the VHS Fast Activator XK203 and High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 in a ratio of 5:1:2. This accelerated primer system has excellent vertical stability.

High Productive Surfacer 1051R (white) and High Productive Surfacer 1057R (black) are part of the ValueShade concept, which helps to deliver the optimal undercoat for every topcoat colour. Different shades of grey are matched to different topcoat colours, delivering a combination that requires less paint. All Cromax colour retrieval tools specify the right ValueShade for every topcoat, which can minimise preparation time, increase colour hiding, decrease paint consumption and help to reap improved productivity and profitability.

Cromax Launches New Ultra Performance Energy Clear

Cromax, one of the premium brands of Axalta Coating Systems, has launched a new high-quality, low-energy clear that dries in five minutes at 60°C. The new Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 is the most productive clear available from Cromax. Parts can be assembled after only 15 minutes, and it also dries at room temperature, so body shops need very little energy to work with it.

Body shops no longer have to choose between a top appearance and high output with CC6700, they can have both. Extensive field tests of Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 have demonstrated high productivity and an exceptional, mirror like finish. Compared to conventional clear coats, CC6700 significantly reduces the energy consumption of a typical paint job either in a short bake cycle or in curing at room temperature.

“We wanted to offer body shops a practical solution to improve their work processes,” said John Nettleton, Cromax Product and Colour Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Based on a new resin technology, it is the only top appearance clear coat to dry this quickly. It will help body shops maximise their output, whilst making significant energy savings without any extra investment.”

The new Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 is conveniently available in a five-litre pack size. It is easy to apply in 1.5 coats and be used in conjunction with one of two Cromax activators – the AR7702 Energy Activator Standard or AR7703 Energy HT/HH Activator.

It is now available from your nearest Cromax distributor or visit www.cromax.com.au/CC6700.

Tesla Approves Spanesi For Its Body Repair Programme

Tesla, Inc. announced it has added three new Spanesi structural repair benches and the Touch Measuring System to its OEM approved equipment list, for Tesla Approved Body Shop programme.

“Spanesi is excited to be a part of approved list of collision repair equipment recognized in the Tesla Approved Body Shop programme,” said Timothy W. Morgan, COO and Managing Director of Spanesi Americas. “We look forward to providing state-of-the-art collision repair equipment to those facilities that are working on the highly complex vehicle structures and substrates being produced by Tesla today.”

“Tesla’s growing vehicle model line-up continues to push the tools and equipment industry to provide modern solutions to support the collision repair industry,” continued Morgan.

Clear Simplicity with PE2600 From ChemSpec USA

The Montana Big Sky PE2600 2K Clearcoat from ChemSpec USA offers what the company describes as “clear simplicity”. The clear is renowned worldwide for being user-friendly and can be applied under a range conditions found throughout Australia – from the hot summers in Queensland to the cool winters in Victoria.

Using urethane technology, PE2600 offers the flexibility needed for spot, multi-panel and overall refinishing. With a 2:1 mix ratio, a high film build can be achieved after the application of two full coats. ChemSpec USA says the final result is a deep rich gloss with premium durability.

The PE2600 Clearcoat is available in a five-litre pack with activators offered in Fast and Medium speeds. It is part of the Montana Big Sky product range, which is based on performance and value. ChemSpec USA says the customer can be confident that the company’s products deliver desired results, with the Montana Big Sky line enjoying a history of repeat customers.

ChemSpec USA is now part of the Axalta Coating Systems family of brands and is dedicated to growing and strengthening relationships with customers in the USA and worldwide. In Australia, the company continues to improve its brand offering and expand its footprint with support from ChemSpec USA representative, Corey Smith and a network of distributors.

For more information on ChemSpec USA in Australia, call local representative Corey Smith on 0419 552 868 or email corey.smith@chemspecpaint.com.