Summary | MAHLE is a recognised tier one automotive subcontractor, manufacturing components for leading OEMs. Creating functional prototypes to enable continuous improvement before mass production is a vital part of the MAHLE offering.
Ricoh 3D provided the solution to make this a reality.
The problem | MAHLE specialises in manufacturing cooling elements, including radiators and intercoolers.
Supporting manufacturers in the development of new vehicle generations means it is vital that MAHLE has the ability to test as part of a continuous improvement cycle prior to mass production.
The need for a functional prototype was clear – but MAHLE only worked with Nylon 6 materials for injection moulding, using different glass fibre fillers. Until they approached Ricoh it had only been possible to make 3D prototypes using PA12, with does not offer the same heat and impact resistance.
The solution| Ricoh 3D made its PA6 GB material available and produced a radiator tank for testing using additive manufacturing.
MAHLE’s Prototyping and Continuous Improvement Department is now in regular contact with the Ricoh 3D team; utilising its innovative technology to manufacture functional radiator prototypes and ensure a rigorous testing process before mass production. Already MAHLE is seeing the cost and time benefits of harnessing 3D printing for prototyping.
How we did it|
Ricoh 3D is uniquely positioned in the market, with one of the largest Selective Laser Sintering systems that is able to print Domo Technyl® Sinterline PA6 GB – a material that producies super strong components ideally suited to the automotive sector.
PA6 GB is a 40% glass filled Nylon 6 material with properties similar to those of injection moulded Nylon 6 parts.
It enables the production of components where demands for mechanical strength, resistance to oils and fluids at high temperatures and complex geometries all need to be met. Ricoh also has the ability to join in-house, so size poses no challenge.
PA6 GB is the ideal solution for interior and exterior automotive components, particularly under-bonnet applications, making it the perfect solution to MAHLE’s challenges.