Toyota Outer Mirror Bracket - The Challenge

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) wanted to launch the "LQ", a concept vehicle that leverages advanced technology to build an emotional bond between car and driver, at the Tokyo Motor Show. The next generation of the Toyota "Concept-i", a concept vehicle first exhibited at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, LQ would be equipped with automated driving capabilities and "Yui," a powerful artificial intelligence-powered interactive agent designed to learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.

"In the past, our love for cars was built on their ability to take us to distant places and enable our adventures," said LQ development leader Daisuke Ido. "Advanced technology gives us the power to match customer lifestyles with new opportunities for excitement and engagement. With the LQ, we wanted to propose a vehicle that can deliver a personalized experience, meet each driver's unique mobility needs, and build an even stronger bond between car and driver."

Having an electric drive system with batteries, Toyota engineers were challenged to reduce the weight of each component and achieve aerodynamic efficiency by a very innovative exterior design. The outer mirror was identified as an opportunity to apply additive design and manufacturing. Additive design and manufacturing technology offered the best solution in terms of weight and aerodynamics for the mirror stay. It also led to a reduction in sound emissions.

FIT provided consulting during the selection of the material and manufacturing technology, design assistance including stress analysis, and manufacturing for the outer mirror in compliance with Toyota's standards and guidelines for external mirrors. The result was a reduction of the number of individual parts as well as of weight and sound emissions, and an overall exciting and new look of the mirror.

Toyota Outer Mirror Bracket - The Challenge
Toyota Outer Mirror Bracket - The FIT Solution

Toyota Outer Mirror Bracket - The FIT Solution

ADM-V (serial production of end-use parts)

Feasibility check
Result: Additive manufacturing of the outer mirrors considering the standards and guidelines for automotive interior parts is possible, but a complete redesign is necessary

Feasibility study

- Recommended material: AlSi10Mg
- Recommended technology: Laser melting (LM or PBF-LB/M)

ADM-E project

- AM-optimized lightweight redesign of the mirror considering aerodynamics, crashworthiness, and Toyota design guidelines (incl. FEA analysis)
- Reduction of the number of individual parts and thus of component complexity

AM optimization

- Quality-optimized positioning of the mirrors in the build chamber (only one laser is used for welding one pair of mirrors)
- Support reduction due to perfect alignment
- Optimized support strategy (no support on visible areas) 


Additive manufacturing of 20 pairs of mirrors with our highly standardized AM process for Laser melting (LM or PBF-LB/M) of end-use parts


- Support removal
- Blasting
- Selective CNC milling
- Grinding
- Vibration grinding
- KTL coating (after ADM-D project for the perfect KTL coating process) 

Quality assurance

- Quality check of the first parts with a CT scan after ADM-V
- Tactile measurement of all parts (after CNC milling)
- Measurement of all parts with GOM scanner (after vibration grinding)
- Measurement and control of tensile tests and density cubes
- The numbering of all components and all test parts for full traceability

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