Revolutionizing Automotive Manufacturing: BLT Metal’s 3D Printing Tech Drives High-Quality Development

02 2月

Automotive and component production hold a significant position in the manufacturing sector. In recent years, there has been a growing imperative for automotive companies to expedite research and trial production, striving to achieve high-quality mass production promptly. Metal 3D printing technology has emerged as a transformative force, introducing novel manufacturing methods and innovative approaches to component design within the automotive industry. Its primary applications include the integral forming of complex structures, lightweighting of components, innovative component designs, and the adoption of new materials. BLT, leveraging its technological research and development and production expertise, caters to the automotive industry by delivering high-quality 3D printed products and services. This is particularly evident in pre-research trial production, production support, and innovative design.

Component Prototyping

BLT has produced crucial components for the Tongji Electric Car Team’s DRe23 Formula race car, including pillars, rocker arms, flanged earpieces, and water-cooled engine casings. Employing a generative design method, columns, rocker arms, and flanged earpieces are optimized using AI tools to achieve the most efficient structure under specified loads and constraints. Crafted from high-strength aluminum alloy, these components undergo mass production with the BLT-S400 printing machine. The final parts exhibit excellent consistency, meeting stringent mechanical requirements while achieving maximum lightweight design.

BLT utilizes 3D printing to promptly validate the assembly and aesthetic effects of a Jeep model. Comprising more than ten components, the Jeep model boasts an average body thickness of 2mm.  Notably, the roof and interior seats employ a lattice lightweight structure for effective weight reduction, while features like the wheels and doors integrate parametric textures, enabling trial production of intricate configurations.

Production Support

The printing machine BLT-A400, equipped with 5 lasers, achieves remarkable efficiency. It produces a full substrate of 1004 automotive tire steel plates in just 52.2 hours, facilitating an annual output exceeding 110,000 units. The final tire steel plates exhibit precise size accuracy of ±0.05mm, coupled with a surface roughness ranging from Ra3.2 to 6.3, meeting stringent precision requirements for practical use.

Innovative Design

BLT played a pivotal role in the front-end design and printing of calipers and caliper brackets for XPENG AEROHT Motors. From the initial design phase, BLT introduces additive manufacturing principles, meticulously considering customer demands for product performance, estimated weight, and visual aesthetics, providing a holistic structural-aesthetic solution for the components. The calipers and caliper brackets, printed using self-produced Ti-6Al-4V powders, feature a combination of curved surfaces, topological structures, and lattice grids. This approach not only ensures structural strength and performance but also achieves a remarkable weight reduction of over 30%. It marks a significant leap forward in addressing both functional and design aspirations.

Metal 3D Printing Technology finds key applications in the automotive sector, notably in innovative design, R&D prototyping, small-batch production, customized manufacturing, and spare parts. However, its journey towards industrial-scale application encounters various challenges, including limitations in producing large components, ensuring consistency in mass production, enhancing production efficiency, and managing production costs.

To meet the distinct demands of the automotive sector, a wide range of printing machines including BLT-S310/S320, BLT-S400, BLT-S450 series, BLT-S600 series, BLT-S800 series, and BLT-S1000 are equipped with comprehensive metal 3D printing solutions for the automotive industry. This strategic configuration aims to address and overcome the specific hurdles that impede the broader industrial-scale adoption of metal 3D printing in the automotive domain.

In 2023, BLT unveils platform solutions for its large-scale additive manufacturing printing system with the introduction of the BLT-S615 (W×D×H: 600mm×600mm×1500mm or W×D×H: 650mm×650mm×1300mm) and the BLT-S815 (W×D×H: 800mm×800mm×1500mm). These increased build dimensions empower clients in the automotive industry to produce larger components and facilitate the mass production of medium and small-sized parts. The new platform solutions have been optimized for optical consistency, airflow, quality monitoring, and automatic powder circulation. This enhancement not only ensures consistent part quality and performance but also reduces production time and costs, assisting automotive clients in accelerating technological iterations and achieving high-quality mass production.