SLM Solutions Group AG, headquartered in Lübeck, Germany, and Divergent Technologies, Inc., Gardena, California, USA, have announced at Formnext 2019 a letter of intent that will see the deepening of their strategic partnership, with Divergent purchasing five pre-production next-generation AM machines. The companies also showcased the front quarter-section of Divergent’s fully functional and crashworthy hypercar, featuring an additively manufactured chassis structure.
Since 2017, the companies have worked under a Joint Development Partnership (JDP) to build a next generation multi-laser machine that achieves the cost-productivity necessary for volume manufacturing of automotive components, including safety structures, and aerospace parts. The companies explain that based on the JDP progress and strong market demand they are now expanding their partnership to drive development and commercialisation of the next generation machines.
In addition to the front quarter-section featuring an AM chassis structure, the companies also showcased generatively engineered and validated lightweight suspension and chassis components, including a set of control arms manufactured on the first pre-production jointly-developed AM machine. The suspension and chassis structures being displayed successfully endured over 450,000 km of simulated road conditions.
SLM Solutions explains that to accelerate the development and time to market of the next generation machines, Divergent’s five pre-production machines will be used for factory integration and system ‘bulletproofing’ at its facility in Los Angeles, California. According to Kevin Czinger, Divergent’s CEO, it plans to use the new machines to meet production demand for a number of major global carmaker programmes.
“Alignment between the two companies across machines, software, and materials will drive a step change from stand-alone AM machines to fully integrated smart factories,” stated Kevin Czinger, Founder and CEO of Divergent.
Divergent’s initial factory deployment will reportedly require at least twenty next generation production machines when commercially available. In 2020, Divergent reports that it plans to begin series production of safety-critical structures for OEM customers in the US and Europe followed by a customer rollout of advanced manufacturing facilities.
Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions commented, “The next generation machine resulting from this partnership achieves cost productivity enabling the broad use of metal Additive Manufacturing for true series production.”