Siemens AG is to intensify its cooperation with the EDAG Group, Wiesbaden, Germany, an independent engineering services provider to the global automotive industry, to further promote industrial applications of Additive Manufacturing. Based on years of prior project-specific collaboration between the companies, on factory and production planning in the field of engineering, the companies are presenting their NextGenerationSpaceframe 2.0 project at Hannover Messe 2019, April 1–5.
The NextGenerationSpaceframe 2.0 is a modular system which reportedly features a combination of bionically designed and additively manufactured nodes and high-strength, energy-absorbing aluminium extrusion profiles. This concept is said to offer highly flexible manufacturing, enabling it to support growing numbers of vehicle derivatives while still taking economic aspects into account.
This project was led by EDAG and Siemens together with Constellium, Fraunhofer IAPT, Concept Laser and BLM, and demonstrates a flexibly manufactured lightweight aluminium structure as an automotive use case for Siemens.
Key features of the NextGenSpaceframe 2.0 project are said to include:
- Shorter time-to-market for AM prototypes and small series components for automotive or industrial applications due to a digital engineering process chain
- Industry 4.0 philosophy: the combination of AM aluminium car body nodes with high-strength, energy-absorbing aluminium extrusion profiles combined as highly flexible on-demand manufacturing with 3D bending and jigless joining technology for automotive and industry applications
- Calculations and actual tests demonstrating that the crash areas can absorb the crash energy as predicted and the AM node did not fail structurally
- A further understanding of how the costs for AM could be reduced by optimising the process and minimising the support structures
- The use of a seamless engineering data process chain, contributing to significantly shorter development and lead times, as well as ensuring a higher level of development maturity
The knowledge and experience provided by the EDAG Group in the field of production processes made a significant contribution to the collaboration, Siemens stated. Tailored future factory concepts have now been created, enabling the components developed for Additive Manufacturing to be produced efficiently in larger batches and transferred to actual series production.
Also key to the success of the project has been the competence that Siemens brings for factory automation and digitalisation, with experience gained from its own manufacturing applications for gas turbines at its facilities in Finspång, Sweden, and Worcester UK, as well as the expertise provided by EOS in the field of process technology for metal Additive Manufacturing.
At Hannover Messe, Siemens is presenting the first steps in the process for successfully implementing this transformation using a digital twin. As well as the actual AM process, this includes the industrialisation of the entire AM production chain, with all subsequent process steps. In future, it is reported that scalable modules will be created to pave the way from small series through to mass production.