Volvo Cars integrates additive manufacturing in the maintenance chain

Torbjörn_LarssonVolvo Cars is actively working to create more sustainable solutions. Now they are exploring additive manufacturing (AM) and integrating it as a significant part of the maintenance process.

Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, creates opportunities for a decentralised manufacturing process and electronic inventory systems. Products can now be manufactured on demand, which is both more efficient and sustainable, while reducing the need for physical warehouse space.

– We’re focused on using additive manufacturing to create more sustainable solutions. We’re reducing unnecessary material waste and optimising the process for both manufacturing and maintenance with 3D printing, and by creating digital files for manufacturing on demand, says Torbjörn Larsson from the Volvo Cars Concept Centre.

Endless possibilities with the right application area

Torbjörn Larsson sees many opportunities with AM, citing customised manufacturing as one of several advantages, as well as the production of small or medium-sized volumes. To realise the full potential of the technology, Larsson also believes that it is important to find the right application area.

– Finding the right application area is key. The challenge is to understand the technology and choose appropriate manufacturing methods. Despite some limitations, I see endless possibilities with additive manufacturing, especially in maintenance where the technology can revolutionise the way we create and manage spare parts.

He continues:

– We also use additive manufacturing to create jigs and fixtures that serve as indispensable aids in our production process. These assembly jigs and other customised tools not only ensure that our products are manufactured with high precision, but also enable flexible and efficient production. By using advanced additive manufacturing techniques, we can create tailor-made solutions that optimise precision and efficiency at every stage of the manufacturing process.

A rewarding partnership with RISE

The research institute RISE runs the Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing (AM Centre), an initiative whose goal is to bring together industry with academia and various research institutes so they can jointly explore and drive developments in AM. Volvo Cars, together with the Centre’s other partners, participates in various projects that enable cross-industry collaboration. Torbjörn Larsson finds the collaboration with RISE valuable and is looking forward to the AM conference Additive Intelligence 4.0, which will take place in conjunction with Underhållsmässan 2024, the Swedish Maintenance Fair.

– We’re creating a dynamic knowledge base through our collaboration within the AM Centre and our participation in Additive Intelligence 4.0. It’s an opportunity not only to learn from our outstanding partners but also to share our own expertise driving innovative solutions in AM and maintenance.

Torbjörn Larsson concludes:

– It is clear that this technology is gradually taking market share from other manufacturing methods. In fact, it is becoming the obvious choice as it continues to grow in importance. The use of additive manufacturing is constantly increasing, and with each advance it not only becomes more widespread but also easier to integrate and capitalise on.

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