Complex metal components in original quality from the 3D printer.
Custom-fit spare parts that are produced upon request and in individual quantities – with the new 3D printing process, this idea can now go into series production at Mercedes-Benz. For the first time, printing of a metallic spare part succeeded. The first item: a thermostat cover for older trucks and Unimog series. The replacement part is only ordered in small quantities, and is used in older Unimog models whose production already ceased around 15 years ago.
Technology leader in 3D printing.
The division of Mercedes-Benz Trucks had initially introduced plastic parts from the 3D printer in its spare part production already a year ago - successfully. The promising production method of high-quality plastic parts has already established itself after a short time and is expanded consistently.
New: 3D metal printing technology for reliable and durable spare parts.
With the successful test of a new 3D metal printing technology, Mercedes-Benz is now going one step further. Thanks to the successful advancement to the production of metallic parts, the manufacturer can offer Unimog owners even better parts availability in genuine quality in the future.
The thermostat cover, printed during the pilot phase, is heat-resistant and ensures high mechanical strength thanks to its special die-cast aluminium alloy. These attributes convinced the strict Mercedes-Benz quality assurance. The principle is clear: the printed vehicle parts must meet the same standards as conventionally manufactured parts in terms of durability, functionality and reliability.
Layer by layer to the finished part.
The production of metallic components uses Selective Laser Melting. The material made from aluminum-silicon powder is applied fully automatically in individual layers and melted by laser.
Progress in the customer's interest.
Spare parts from the 3D printer can be produced economically and flexibly even in small quantities as needed. All over the world and directly at the Mercedes-Benz production sites. Thereby, the production of metal components directly from digital data sets saves the use of special tools, storage and transport costs.
This gives us completely new possibilities for offering spare parts rapidly and at attractive prices, even long after series production has ceased.
Andreas Deuschle, Head of Marketing & Operations
Since 3D printed metal parts are characterized by very high resilience and heat resistance, they are particularly convincing when it comes to manufacturing mechanically and thermally stressed components in small quantities. Especially where complex structures are required: in-engine, in the engine periphery as well as in cooling systems, transmissions, axles or chassis.
"The particular added value of 3D printing technology is that it considerably increases speed and flexibility, especially when producing spare and special parts. This gives us completely new possibilities for offering our customers spare parts rapidly and at attractive prices, even long after series production has ceased," concludes Andreas Deuschle, Head of Marketing & Operations in Customer Services & Parts at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
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