Siemens bets big on 3D printing, to introduce customer-customisable car

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 22 Mar 2018


Siemens is aggressively looking to change the dynamics of traditional manufacturing in the automotive segment. The company this week has made two major announcements including investment of 30 million euros (Rs 229 crore) for expanding its state-of-the-art 3D-printing factory in the UK and partnering US-based digital manufacturing company Hackrod for introducing the world’s first car designed in mixed reality, engineered by AI, the ‘La Bandita’.

The automotive industry, which is on the brink of transition, has seen a lot of new changes not just in the manufacturing space but also in terms of product evolution. Consumer preferences are no longer limited to customisation in terms of colours or models. Their growing and diverse needs have made OEMs globally to introduce products that appeal to the new-age consumer.

La Bandita
Siemens has partnered Hackrod for introducing what is claimed to be the world’s first car designed by virtual reality, engineered with AI and 3D printed, full size, in structural alloy.

As per the company claims, the La Bandita is its first proof-of-concept that will pave the road for what it claims to be the democratisation of engineering design and manufacturing where the consumer will be the creator in the automotive space.

web-la-bandita-6

Hackrod states its factory of the future, which is powered by the Siemens Digital Innovation Platform, will enable individuals, and small enterprises the unprecedented capability to create product as easily as playing a video game.

According to Dr Slade Gardner, CTO, Hackrod, "Our shared vision includes optimised aesthetic design, robust validated engineering, complex advanced manufacturing and rapid in-situ quality assessment. Because the Hackrod vision includes rapid data collection for product design and iteration; and customised manufacturing of sophisticated mechatronic systems, Siemens' hardware connectivity for Industrial IoT and multi-axis additive manufacturing are critical to success. The products of our partnership will illustrate the impact this team will have with access to world class digital design, engineering, visualisation, manufacturing and inspection power."

Bob Haburock, senior vice-president, Product Engineering Software, Siemens PLM Software, said, "Hackrod's vision for automotive design is an exciting and unique use of our design and engineering software, and is completely in line with Siemens' vision for the future of manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the ‘La Bandita’ speedster and using it as proof of concept for this revolutionary design to production methodology."

3D printing
The manufacturing facility at Worcester, UK will be for Materials Solutions, its additive manufacturing (3D-printing) arm, will start operations in September 2018.

Siemens states the facility, will more than double its current footprint, enabling it to increase its fleet of 3D-printing machines to 50. The expansion is also expected to support the creation of more than 50 high-quality new jobs in Worcester.

This major investment is part of Siemens' plans to build and grow a global business with additive manufacturing services for the aerospace industry, the automotive industry and other industries. The new factory will be fully powered by Siemens Digital Enterprise solutions, an end-to-end portfolio comprising software-based systems and automation components which cover every conceivable requirement arising along the industrial value chain. It will therefore harness the potential of digitalisation.

"Additive Manufacturing is a major pillar in our digitisation strategy. This significant investment underlines our belief that there is huge potential for innovation and growth within the additive manufacturing sector. It is also the next step towards achieving our ambition of pioneering the industrialisation of this exciting new technology and demonstrates how we are leading the way for the fourth industrial revolution," said Willi Meixner, CEO, Siemens Power and Gas Division.  

In 2016, Siemens had acquired a majority stake of around 85 percent in Materials Solutions for an undisclosed amount.

(Image courtesy: Hackrod)