Addictive Additive: Blog

Our blog carves out a place for stories that connect with AM’s big future.

December 03, 2021

How the SLM®500 Can Increase Efficiency in EV Manufacturing

One of many solutions to the climate crisis, electric vehicles (EV) promise not just one way forward, but the only way forward for automotive, a notoriously carbon-heavy sector. Electric has now become the certain future of the automotive industry.

World leaders and automotive manufacturing leaders alike have taken note and are already taking steps to help shape the future of EV manufacturing. Whether it's the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, or the new electric models Porsche is creating with 3D printed parts, big name OEMs themselves are quickly embracing the power of additive manufacturing to help prepare for the electric future of automotive.

So why go additive for EV?

It’s simple: AM-powered machines like the SLM®500 provide massive efficiency gains in the creation of automobiles and automobile components. We’re talking design freedom. Lighter parts with higher quality. On-site innovation.

Best of all, our technology affords a reduction of costs for the production per part, which is a key driver in automotive production. “Automotive applications are driven by productivity,” notes our CEO Sam O’Leary. “It’s driven by cost per part. As the technology drives productivity, it reduces cost per pump.” And that is why there is a “continuous drive to push additive into everyday production.”

This guide dives into how additive manufacturing and the SLM®500 can increase efficiency, productivity, and quality in EV manufacturing. Let’s go.

           1. Adaptability and Customization

Regardless of country of production, all vehicles must comply with their local regulations and safety standards. This means that there are specific parts all vehicles must contain if they are to be deemed safe for use by the local authorities. As OEMs look to produce and innovate in the field of EV, having an AM machine on site to support them in production and creative problem solving can be the key to winning the market. The SLM®500 features open architecture software that can help you adapt to any changes in regulations while retaining the possibility for full customization. 

          2.  Less Reliance on the Supply Chain

Waiting times for cars and spare car parts are at an all-time high due to the current supply chain crisis. An end is nowhere in sight, which means there is a demand for rapid, home-grown solutions. With AM machine capabilities, you are able to print parts on-site when and how you need them, meaning less reliance on supply chain issues while bringing your EV products to market far quicker.

         3. Use Lighter Materials for Improved Performance

Lightweight cars accelerate quicker and boast easier control, making them ideal as EV. They're also cheaper and more efficient to create, taking another step towards sustainable mobility. With an SLM®500 on site, you can replace metal components with plastic polymers as well as create complete complex parts from scratch, making for simpler assembly and a lighter weight.

As Nneji KEMAKOLAM, Head of Product Design at SLM Solutions, notes, electric vehicles require “lighter components within the cars to allow for optimized utilization of the energy source.” He continues that the lighter we can make the cars,  “the more you can extend the duration of your energy source. And this is what additive manufacturing and the SLM®500 can offer the automotive industry in general.”

          4. Flexible Designs

The SLM®500 is powered by open-architecture software, allowing you to retain full optimization in part creation. If there's something you don't like, you have the freedom to change it, allowing you to create directly to your precise specifications. We also offer a portfolio of metal powder options to help you accelerate your EV production the way you imagine it.

         5. Create Entire Parts From Scratch

The switch to EV is seeing a complete change in manufacturing, with new designs having to be created from scratch to fit new models. As SLM Solutions Product Manager for Metal AM Systems Hannes Duncker explains: “The next big thing that automotive will see is, of course, the exchange to electric drive units. And I really believe that additive manufacturing and SLM Solutions in particular is going to play a huge part in this paradigm shift. For the first time in many decades in automotive, new parts are completely designed from scratch. And this is really where additive manufacturing with integrated functionality at a reduced size and weight can really be beneficial for the electric vehicle and entire automotive industry.”

         6. Save on Costs. Not Quality. 

Our last point is also our most important point: With AM, you are able to save money on every part of your EV manufacturing process while even improving part quality and effectiveness. This means more money into research, development, and innovation, less waste in transportation and manufacturing.

To learn more, email one of our EV experts at [email protected] today.