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Press release
Automotive
October 14, 2008

Powder for Rapid Manufacturing

  • Parts manufactured by laser sintering can be custom-tailored to fit even the tightest installation space.
  • Evonik produces powders that are especially customized for laser sinter technologies.

How can I best master difficult installation problems? How can I lower my production costs? These are questions that frequently can be answered with Rapid Manufacturing (RM) processes. Evonik uses parts designed for a racing car to demonstrate its capabilities in the production of which is an RM process.

As an example, in the past racing season, engineers replaced the complex original metal pipes that connected the coolant line to the aggregates with lighter components. These parts were produced by laser sintering from polyamide 12 powder specifically optimized for lightweight construction. This reinforced material of low density has excellent processing properties and is specially adapted for the laser sintering process.

The advantage of this approach is that the shape of components can be custom-tailored to fit even the tightest installation space. The manufacturing process has no limitations, such as the avoidance of undercut sections in injection molding. In the racing car, for example, it was necessary to reduce the dimensions of a connector, which would, however, have increased flow resistance for the coolant. To solve this problem, the Evonik developers engineered a three-dimensionally bent elliptical tube with the same flow resistance as the original metal connector. A geometry of this kind could not have been modeled with either conventional metal-processing methods or plastic injection molding.

Laser-sintering technology is advantageously used in automotive construction, for example, for small series, optional fittings, or special requests from customers, and in motor racing.

These are situations in which only a few components of the same type are required, and production of an injection mold is out of the question for reasons of cost or time. To prepare a part, the CAD data, which are already available, are used to generate a layer data set, which is fed to the laser-sintering machine. The parts are manufactured from a specially adapted powder in an automated construction process.

Evonik is a founding member of the Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC) in Paderborn. The objective of the DMRC is to promote the development of Direct Manufacturing processes and systems, that is, the automatic, layered design of components on the basis of computer models. Evonik contributes the production of polymer-based standard materials and materials that are specially adapted to Direct Manufacturing to the industry and research cooperation.

Company information

Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany which operates in three business areas: Chemicals, Energy and Real Estate. Evonik is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our strengths are creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2007 about 43,000 employees generated sales of about €14.4 billion and an operating profit (EBITDA) of more than €2.2 billion.

Disclaimer

In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.