Sustainable materials and 3D move into vehicle production

Sustainable materials and 3D printing are now becoming a significant presence in vehicle manufacturers’ production chains. It is a transformation that has barely begun, says German innovation guru Dr Sascha Peters. 

Dr Sascha Peters, founder of the Berlin-based company Haute Innovation, has the whole world under his magnifying glass when it comes to new, innovative materials. He says that many companies are now starting to implement sustainable materials in their products in a major way, not least in vehicle manufacturing.

“Sustainable materials and 3D printing are seriously moving into the vehicle market,” he explains. “It is no longer just a matter of innovative special cars but rather on a broad front in the manufacturing process. We are seeing this development in the vehicle industry in particular but also elsewhere.” 

Changing the entire car

Vehicle manufacturers are no longer just focused on emissions and developing electric cars. The next step, which is being taken now, is to build the cars using sustainable, smart materials and smart manufacturing methods.

“The vehicle manufacturers have begun working to change the entire car’s design and construction using sustainable materials and additive manufacturing,” Dr Peters says. 

3D-printed spare parts

3D printing has long been used in such industries as medical and aviation. In the vehicle industry the main use so far has been for prototypes, concept cars and individual special components. Now, though, more and more manufacturers are using 3D printing in series production, with spare parts as the first sector.

“What’s happening is not a revolution but rather a steady step-by-step development, always moving forward,” Dr Peters says, adding that he will be displaying many examples of this development in his exhibition at Subcontractor InnoDex in November. 

Almost 100 innovations on show

As demand from industry increases, more and more lightweight solutions, biomaterials, and materials for 3D printing are being developed. Some examples of the almost 100 innovations to be shown at Subcontractor InnoDex are the world’s first modular, foldable wheels, BASF’s award-winning Cool Coatings – a surface coating that reduces the car’s inside temperature by several degrees, a 3D-printed metal bridge, and a vehicle made of super-stable high-tech wood.

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Published
10/5/2018
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