Interior component manufacturing group harnesses metal additive manufacturing for production parts

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Additive manufacturing equipment and technology supplier EOS says it has supplied a pair of EOS M 290 metal 3D printers to Automotive Trim Developments (ATD), a UK-based group of companies focused on the engineering and manufacture of complete interior trim and electromechanical assemblies for the automotive and other transport industries.

Building on its extensive CNC manufacturing experience, ATD has now adopted new additive manufacturing processes, with EOS providing support at every stage for a rapid shift to active production.

During the engineering phase of a particular project to develop an electromechanical module for a luxury vehicle interior, ATD hit an engineering challenge with one particular component. The physically large and complex component was highly visible but also lightweight, and it became clear that the only way to manufacture the component would be additive manufacturing. This approach enabled ATD to achieve the target weight while ensuring a high-quality component, both cosmetically and functionally, once it was highly polished and electroplated in post-processing.

Additive manufacturing was a completely new process for ATD. However, working with the EOS Additive Minds team, it was able to implement a complete turnkey solution that covered not only training, installation and setup of the EOS M 290 machines but also every aspect of transforming the production floor. This included production business case analysis, floor layout, health and safety procedures, maintenance regimes and guidance on the quality requirements of certified components.

“Metal printing is often wrongly perceived as an immature process and too expensive for production volumes, but for us it has proved ideal,” remarked Brett Townsend, owner and managing director at ATD. “Our investment in additive manufacturing and EOS is one for the long term and a relationship that has already enabled us, at speed, to move to high-quality production of complex automotive components.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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