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. A new approach was required for the interior and exterior design. The center console was designed as an innovative free-standing object with a knob style shift lever and a touchpad which represented a major challenge. Additive design and manufacturing technology offered the best solution in terms of weight, design freedom, and reliability.
Prototypes for design studies or functional tests are still a very important element of the product development process. Especially for FMCG or lifestyle products, a fast and reliable design validation is very important to reduce the time to market. Therefore, industrial designers and engineers are searching more and more intensely for new ways to validate their designs even quicker. But especially multi-colored and multi-material components are really challenging to be manufactured as a prototype. A new solution for the fast, realistic, and cost-effective manufacturing of design prototypes is necessary.
Even functionally proven designs such as production aids may need to be updated, for example because ergonomic regulations become more stringent during the period of use. On behalf of Ascent Aerospace, FIT redesigned and manufactured a drill template for aircraft construction and delivered it ready for use in a very short time. Special requirements of weight reduction and improved handling had to be taken into account which could be perfectly met by skillful additive engineering.
For track construction, Plasser & Theurer from Linz, Austria develops tamping machines that compact the ballast bed under the railroad sleepers. To ensure that a newly developed tamping unit could be put to the test without costly time delays, FIT AG produced five prototypes ready for assembly and testing using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) with a total mass of 500 kg within just five weeks. The delivery time for the conventionally manufactured equivalents was significantly undercut using WAAM, and the customer was particularly pleased with the high quality of the components supplied.
Wasps' and hornets' nests are the source of inspiration for a fascinating work of art created by painter and printmaker Peter Lang at FIT subsidiary additive tectonics. The Bavarian artist developed the basic idea for the "Silent Orchestra" in collaboration with acoustics experts from Rosenheim Technical University. The honeycomb-like structure is installed as an art object hanging from the ceiling in the client's premises, where it is intended to improve the acoustics.
When, in the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic in March 2020, community masks became mandatory, FIT faced, like everybody else, the problem that there were not enough face masks available on the market to protect FIT's own employees from infection. For this reason, FIT developed its own face mask within 4 weeks and produced it in large quantities: a filter carrier made of plastic, with which the acute emergency situation could be bridged quickly and cost-effectively.
The range of the UAV and the battery-powered flight duration are essential performance characteristics of remote-controlled aircraft. In order to massively increase the flight duration, our design specialists have developed the prototype of a special helicopter drone with an original length of 3.5 meters. The special feature of the drone's construction is its complex organic design which leads to a weight reduction of 80%. The structural load-bearing capacity is guaranteed. This means that the drone can fly almost twice as long as before.
An automotive supplier was using conventionally manufactured product chutes from sheet metal, which required manual assembly of the various parts by specialists. As a consequence, the production of a chute took about 7 working days with the corresponding high costs. We solved the problem by using additive design. The bionic construction of the chutes saves on costs and weight while maintaining the required stability. By integrating rollers into the construction, the behavior of the parts could be better controlled on the chute. An additional benefit of the additive manufacturing method: The part can be built in one piece which makes all assembling efforts obsolete.
For the mounting of air conditioning units, Faiveley Transport Leipzig GmbH & Co. KG, a subsidiary of the US-American Wabtec Corporation, uses conventionally manufactured clamps made of sheet metal. Availability, as well as the weight, are becoming more and more important issues. That's why Wabtec searched for a weight-optimized variant of the 4.6 kg standard bracket. Topology optimization and bionic design are the cornerstones for the complete redesign of the original bracket. As the subsequent simulation showed, the new bracket is able to withstand the same loads as the conventional part. The main difference: the new bracket has only a weight of 0.8 kg, which means a weight reduction of 82 %! Since the new bracket is manufactured in one piece by additive manufacturing instead of being joined from 6 bent sheet metal parts, the assembly effort could also be noticeably reduced.
For the commercial release of its new face cream of the „it“ product line (i.e. Innovative Technology), L'Oréal was looking for a very special way of presenting it at a press conference to attract attention and symbolize the innovative image of the "it" brand. The challenge: Time was relatively short to the inaugural press conference and no data model of the small original tube existed. Our specialists created a data model of the tube from scratch. After that, the object was built by using XXL 3D printing technology GDP (gel dispensing printing) in three separate parts, which were assembled to form an impressively tall giant tube with a height of 1.80 m. Due to a refined finishing process, the GDP model was a perfect look-alike of the original – after only one week of production time.
The eye-catching new boarding house on the AM campus of FIT Additive Manufacturing Group is the result of a close collaboration between the FIT product designers, architects Berschneider + Berschneider, and the Sto Group, a manufacturer and developer of lightweight construction systems. The facade stands out by a novel surface with a complex pattern of cavities which let the massive geometry of the matte dark appear delicate and weightless. Each of the mold inserts of the production panels was produced from aluminium by laser melting, which was considerably cheaper than milling them due to the complex faceted shape. The individual facade panels were pressed and demolded quickly and economically, fully integrated into the industrial process at STO. Thanks to the additive production, individualized house facades will hardly cost more than standard facades in a few years.
Around 3.7 m people alone in Germany suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Oventus Medical, in cooperation with the Australian CSIRO, developed an individual mouthpiece that protects sleep apnea patients from fatal breathing pauses. As a specialist for the additive manufacturing of medical components, we provide reliable and certified processes for the production of titanium blanks for the medical products and devices industry. This enabled us to lead Oventus through an intensive prototyping and evaluation process, preparing true serial manufacturing. In the course of this cooperation, we developed the process for real serial manufacturing of the titanium mouthpiece. The parts are manufactured with professional software tools and best-in-class machines for the high-quality production of medical implants according to DIN EN ISO 13485 as well as compliant with FDA requirements. A rigorous quality management system ensures the required quality standards (e.g. traceability etc.).