A collaboration between Netherlands-based Royal DSM and Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), a British supercar manufacturing company based in Liverpool, has led to the integration of innovative 3D printing applications in the new BAC Mono R.
Additive manufacturing offers possibilities for new designs that would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods.
The partnership, said the companies, was aimed at creating lighter and stronger parts that can be customised to meet specific customer needs. As Patrick Duis, segment leader Automotive at DSM Additive Manufacturing noted, additive manufacturing offers ‘unparalleled options for small-series production and customisation of cars’.
The new Mono R features a series of new, 3D-printed parts, including, for example, the grips for the Mono R’s steering wheel that are fully customisable to its driver and the new designed 3D-printed air inlets.
The use of computer-aided design and additive manufacturing to produce key parts of the new Mono R have resulted in a car weighing only 560 kilograms – ‘a record low’, according to the companies.
“Keeping the car as light as possible is of paramount importance, and by using 3D printing we not only keep the kilogrammes down, but also keep sustainability and safety on the up,” said Ian Briggs, Design Director of BAC.
Other innovations are still to follow. Using sophisticated CAE technology, DSM and BAC are currently exploring the design and production of 3D-printed parts incorporating new, organic shapes and hollow internal structures – radically reducing weight while maintaining strength.
In addition, DSM is re-engineering many of its conventional polymers and optimizing them for 3D printing purposes to enable the full potential of design for additive manufacturing to be exploited.
Using the experience gained here, these weight-reducing and durable additive manufacturing solutions may well, in time, also be integrated into designs for mainstream vehicles.