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Toyota teams up with 3D Systems on laser sintering

03 Sep 2019

Partnership with the auto giant's motorsports division looks to advance laser additive manufacturing techniques.

Toyota’s Germany-headquartered motorsports division has signed up to a development agreement with the additive manufacturing equipment firm 3D Systems, with a goal to “change automotive engineering”.

Cologne-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), which provides services to external clients as well as developing cutting-edge technologies for its parent company, said that the partnership would aim to develop first-to-market manufacturing solutions, including laser sintering machines, materials and software.

Andreas Schambach, TMG’s general manager for future production technology, said in a company release:

“TMG's facility will become a showcase for world-class advanced digital manufacturing. Our team of experts will complement that of 3D Systems’, to develop advanced laser sintering technologies, and a portfolio of materials with improved properties to meet the rigorous demands of motorsport.”

Competitive advantage
The partnership will aim to use the developed technologies to create lightweight, high-quality production parts for TMG’s motorsport projects more quickly and efficiently than is possible at the moment.

“We are on the cutting-edge of motorsport and want to partner with companies that are leading the way so Toyota can maintain its advantage,” Schambach continued. “TMG has chosen 3D Systems for this partnership because they share our pioneering spirit – exhibited by the fact that they introduced the world to 3D printing.

“We see the unparalleled potential of combining 3D Systems' expertise and know-how with that of TMG to create technologies and define new additive manufacturing innovations in the automotive industry.”

As part of the agreement, TMG will incorporate a variety of 3D Systems’ products into its manufacturing workflow, including the South Carolina firm’s “ProX 800” stereolithography equipment.

The 3D Systems logo was emblazoned on two Toyota “Gazoo” racing cars driven during last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone – with the race won by one of the Toyota hybrid vehicles, driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López.

Complex parts
The Toyota partnership follows last month’s agreement with GF Machining Solutions, part of the Swiss manufacturing giant Georg Fischer AG, to expand their collaboration on complex metal parts production to include China and Taiwan.

“By combining the strength of 3D Systems’ innovation and expertise in additive manufacturing with GF Machining Solutions’ renowned leadership in precision machining and industrial automation, manufacturers will now be able to more efficiently produce complex metal parts within tight tolerances, and reduce total cost of operation,” announced the US firm.

The two companies are working together on their co-branded “Factory” systems, which offer customers scalable metal additive manufacturing options. However, shipments of those systems have recently been “paused” while technical improvements to the Factory series are completed.

The Factory series of machines, designed for producing larger metal parts with high precision and repeatability, are based around multiple laser sources to improve throughput.

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