Royal DSM announced a collaboration with Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), the British supercar manufacturing company based in Liverpool. The two companies will co-develop innovative 3D printing applications for the new BAC Mono R and showcase the potential of additive manufacturing to reduce weight and increase customization in the automotive industry.
Both companies are convinced that integrating 3D printing in car manufacturing allows for the creation of parts that are not only lighter, but also stronger and customizable to meet specific customer needs. In addition, 3D printing enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to explore new designs that would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods.
The new Mono R features a series of new 3D-printed parts. For instance, BAC and DSM developed 3D-printed grips for the Mono R’s steering wheel that are fully customizable to the driver. The car also features new 3D-printed air inlets that are lighter, more durable, and more cost-effective to produce than traditional inlets. Thanks in part to design, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), and manufacturing changes to key parts of the Mono through 3D printing, BAC and DSM were able to limit the weight of the new supercar to 560 kilograms – a record low.
Other innovations are still to follow. For instance, DSM and BAC are exploring the design and production of 3D-printed parts incorporating new, organic shapes and hollow internal structures – radically reducing weight while maintaining strength. Additive manufacturing also enables OEMs to replace materials now common in car manufacturing with newer, high-performing and recyclable materials.
Many of DSM’s traditional and high-performing polymers are commonly used in the automotive sector. By re-engineering these tried and tested materials and optimizing them for 3D printing purposes, DSM Additive Manufacturing is enabling new and innovative designs to surface, as showcased by the record-breaking Mono R.
In time, the weight-reducing and durable properties of additive manufacturing will undoubtedly also be integrated into designs for mainstream vehicles.
DSM and BAC will continue collaborating closely to explore new technologies, materials and applications for 3D printing in the automotive industry. Both companies will also look for opportunities to improve sustainability in vehicle and other manufacturing processes. In 2018 BAC became the first car manufacturer to go climate positive, which means it removes more carbon dioxide from earth’s atmosphere than it emits.
Adding additive manufacturing to the mix will enable BAC to cut its emissions even further, for example because 3D parts can be printed on site rather than having to be shipped across the globe. The company will also have access to DSM’s line-up of recyclable materials, further aiding its sustainability ambitions.