Based on the specific conditions such as strength and weight, low, high and medium end chassis are developed by the automakers. Vehicle manufacturing companies employ diverse tools and techniques for different vehicle specifications, further leading to increase in pressure for the chassis system because of the alloy or metal deployed during manufacturing. Thus, the end product is heavy, which further contributes to higher emissions. To address this challenge, automakers are working towards building low cost, lightweight and high quality chassis systems. However, before integrating a new platform in any vehicle, manufacturing methods should also be taken into consideration.
The automotive industry is witnessing profound transformation. The conventional technologies and processes are expanding with increased sensorization, cooperative robots and additive manufacturing. These technologies are potentially disruptive and innovative but have certain limitations and challenges.
There is a need for refined and efficient structural manufacturing technology. The technology should be seamlessly integrated with the existing manufacturing process to build lightweight, high quality, efficient, and cost effective chassis systems.
Divergent 3D has developed a unique method to manufacture chassis systems. According to the company, by employing this new method, the end product will be a dematerialized, light weight chassis system with high quality. The new chassis system will be able to withstand extreme force, improve fuel efficiency, and decrease pollutant emission. This will further provide excellent return on investment for the vehicle owner. Divergent 3D has developed a 3D metal printing process, which is further enabled by the direct metal laser sintering. This marks an intense advancement in chassis system manufacturing. The underlying technology of Divergent 3D includes the complex connectors, that is the 3D printed nodes employed to join mixed topology of carbon fiber and other materials.
The majority of chassis manufacturers deploy stamping, welding, plasma and tooling technologies, which are not energy efficient and sustainable. These methods and processes are expensive and extensively employed to manufacture cars with high volume to achieve profitable return on investment. Furthermore, the conventional manufacturing methods lead to energy and material wastage, and the cycle time is high and not cost efficient because of the fixed capital cost and frequent maintenance of the equipment.
The technology is able to reduce the material usage, decrease the cycle time to manufacture, and minimize the labor required to manufacture cost effective and lightweight vehicle chassis system.
According to Automo analysis, the above mentioned method devised by Divergent 3D will provide freedom in production and component design, and utilize fewer material and less energy. The lightweight 3D printed node will increase the fuel efficiency, improve the vehicle performance and decrease emission. As compared to the conventional technology, this technology is expected to be cost effective. The most important features of the technology developed by Divergent 3D are low operating cost and higher efficiency.
The chassis system should be of mixed topology, which can be further applied to any type of vehicle, from pickup trucks to sport cars. The system should be able to reduce the emission by half per passenger car and reduce cost of manufacturing by tenfold. 3D printed chassis systems and connectors are expected to be the industry norms in the medium to long term. The technology should be able to cater to the needs of the market in the future. Automo predicts that the 3d node technology market with the help of lightweight structural material and aluminum alloy is expected to grow exponentially in the medium to long term.