Components for commercial vehicles such as excavators, trucks or forklifts should be as light as possible, yet stable and durable. At the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK), engineers at the Institute for Mechanical and Automotive Design (iMAD) rely on a 3D metal printer with which they can produce components in one piece. This technology permits to produce more filigree and lighter parts than with conventional processes. At the International Motor Show for Commercial Vehicles in Hanover (IAA) from 20 to 27 September at the research stand (Hall 13, Stand A28) of the Centre for Commercial Vehicle Technology (ZNT), researchers will answer questions about their technology.
A whole range of products can nowadays be manufactured using 3D printers. This technology is also used at the TUK campus. The engineers around Professor Dr Roman Teutsch from Kaiserslautern use this technology to develop components for various commercial vehicles. The advantage of this technology: The printed products can be designed in such a way that they are, for example, light, but still durable and stable. “Such processes are of particular interest to the automotive industry,” says Professor Teutsch, who leads the Institute for Mechanical and Automotive Design and conducts research at the ZNT. “Numerous components used in safety-relevant areas are subject to strict specifications. They must last throughout the life of the vehicle.”
The 3D printer has a relatively large design space of 27.5 x 27.5 x 42 centimetres, so that researchers can also produce larger components for commercial vehicles in one piece. The special thing about it: “With the help of the technology, we can produce parts that are highly complex, such as filigree lattice structures,” says Teutsch. It also simplifies the process for engineers to consider design improvements; for example, when it comes to design structures, optimised to the load path.
Also nature itself sets an example for the team around Teutsch. For example, leaf veins of many plants, which form a supporting structure, or the shape of branch forks play a role here. Today's technology makes it easier to produce such bionic forms. This is interesting for engineers because it makes it possible to design more efficient components. In addition, this technology is suitable for the production of spare parts, for example if the tools of the original component are worn out.
At the IAA Commercial Vehicles, the researchers will be showing various exhibits that they have created using 3D printing and which are intended to provide inspiration for the (commercial) vehicle industry.
The Centre for Commercial Vehicle Technology at the TU Kaiserslautern
At the Centre for Commercial Vehicle Technology (ZNT), more than 150 researchers from more than 13 faculties of computer science, electrical engineering, information technology and mechanical engineering work together on an interdisciplinary basis. For example, they develop techniques for autonomous driving and computing methods that ensure that the technologies in the vehicles function reliably. They are also working on intelligently networked vehicles and investigating how people and vehicles will interact with each other in the future. Another area of research is increasing energy and CO2 efficiency through lightweight construction, alternative fuels, hybridization and electromobility. The ZNT is part of the Commercial Vehicle Alliance Kaiserslautern (CVA) and cooperates with many of the research institutes located in the proximity of the university campus. The ZNT is also characterised by close cooperation with commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Read more at www.uni-kl.de/znt