Page 36 - MetalForming May 2016
P. 36

       Metal Printing
of Automotive Stamping Dies
Studying wire-arc additive manufacturing of draw dies for three automotive parts reveals how additive manufacturing may play a role in the metalforming arena.
                                                             BY PIYUSH BUBNA AND MICHAEL P. HUMBERT
In a project for the Advanced Research Projects Agency— Energy (ARPA-E), conducted during the first nine months of 2015, Ricardo, Inc. partnered with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) to develop a detailed cost model for 10 key automotive components (chassis, powertrain, controls, etc.). The project, titled Reducing Automotive CAPEX Entry Barriers through Design, Manufacturing and Materials, ana- lyzed the investment barriers for lower-volume production. Amongst various findings were opportunities to use 3D printing to reduce the necessary investment in tooling.
No Secret: Tooling Can be an Investment Barrier
Passenger vehicles and commercial trucks incorporate sev- eral metal components in the body-in-white, closures and other areas of the vehicle, often requiring enormous capital investment in tooling. The cost of a die set can vary from a few thousand to more than $1 million, depending on die size, part complexity, and required die durability and life. Due to these limitations, major automotive manufacturers produce very similar, if not virtually identical, vehicles at very large vol- umes. This practice limits potential customization and acts as a barrier to entry for new companies or for new produc- tion techniques.
Companies trying to customize their products or bring new technology to market typically lack sufficient oppor- tunities to achieve economies of scale. Low-volume demand for aftermarket parts also suffers from the same limita- tions. These stakeholders can benefit from alternative meth-
Piyush Bubna is a consultant with Ricardo Strategic Con- sulting, the global management consulting subsidiary of Ricardo PLC, Van Buren Township, MI; 734/397-6666, Michael P. Humbert is a senior engineer/sci- entist with United Technologies Research Center, Farmington, CT; 860/610-7000,
Leveraging its manufacturing expertise and newly developed manufacturing cost model, the Ricardo team studied capital costs associated with the conventional manufacturing of
10 subassemblies from the Toyota Corolla.
ods to affordably manufacture vehicles at initially lower vol- umes, and reduce the time required to provide new products to consumers.
To study these challenges, Ricardo developed a manu- facturing-cost model and database that enables users to estimate production costs and required investments for a large variety of components at different production volumes. The cost model determines bottom-up costs for forming of individual parts, as well as their assembly into components.
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