Daimler 3D prints its first truck spare parts in aluminium

The working cavity of the SLM laser printer: as the work platform is raised, the powdered aluminium/silicon material moves to the side to reveal the contours of the thermostat covers.Daimler has used 3D printing technology to produce its first metal spare part – a thermostat cover for Mercedes-Benz truck models whose series production ceased 15 years ago – and seen the part pass of all the stages of the manufacturer’s stringent quality assurance process.

3D printing can produce metal parts that are exceptionally strong and thermally resistance, making it particularly suitable for producing mechanically and thermally stressed components, as well as parts that are only required in small numbers – where conventional production might prove costly.

The technique for 3D metal printing uses selective laser melting (SLM), which involves the layer-by-layer application of powdered aluminium/silicon material (ALSi10Mg) that is then melted together using one or more laser energy sources.

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