German automaker Mercedes-Benz has offered its support with the production of medical equipment. With the aid of 3D printers, individual components can be produced that are urgently needed in medical technology as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“With our highly competent team and years of experience in 3D printing technology, we are ready to make our contribution to the production of medical devices,” says Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain. “To this end, we are also in contact with the state government of Baden-Wurttemberg. Our expertise and specialist knowledge is available for production; now it is up to the medical technology sector to contact us. Our 3D printers are definitely available.”
Mercedes-Benz has been gathering experience in the research and application of additive manufacturing for around 30 years. In the passenger car sector, 3D printing is usually used in prototype construction and small-series production.
Mercedes-Benz already uses 3D printing machines to produce up to 150,000 plastic and metal components every year. This capacity can now be fully utilised for medical purposes. All common 3D printing processes can be used – from stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to Selective Laser Melting (SLM).
What is additive manufacturing?
In additive manufacturing, digitally developed components are built up layer by layer in a 'printer'. The raw materials used include plastic and metal powders or resins which are fused by an energy source – usually one or more lasers. Once a layer is finished, a new layer is applied automatically and the solidification process starts again. This process is repeated until a three-dimensional component is created.
The printer is running: layered application of the sinter fill powder on a professional SLS machine.
A part of the professional machinery: the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.
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