An important application of additive manufacturing is its ability to produce hard-to-find and hard-to-repair replacement parts. To produce a single part quickly and viably, Nissan Australia needed a different solution to traditional manufacturing.
The part, used in the exhaust system of a vehicle upstream of its catalytic converter, was complex and contained internal cooling channels that could not be repaired or recreated quickly using traditional manufacturing methods. In addition, the vehicle’s fuel injector is a component of its emissions system.
Nissan approached Spee3D 3D with the task to replace this damaged water-cooling component part.
Spee3D used its 3D proprietary scanning technology, LightSPEE3D, and its metal 3D printing technology to scan the original part. The damaged part was attached to the LightSPEE3D robot arm. Spee3D 3D’s proprietary software sent instructions to the robot to maneuver the part to complete several different scans. From these scans, the software algorithms produced a 3D model. The 3D model was then printed in aluminium 6061 on a LightSPEE3D metal 3D printer.
The 3D printed replacement part allows the injector to be mounted on the exhaust while being cooled to its operational requirements. Coolant is pumped through its complex internal channel to cool the injector.
There are many industries facing supply challenges and risks, including automotive, rail, oil and gas, mining, and defense. Metal parts commonly become obsolete and impossible to source. This project demonstrates that these issues can be solved successfully using 3D scanning and metal printing technology.