Sports car maker Porsche has made a strategic investment in 3D printer maker INTAMSYS to explore other ways to develop and deploy additive manufacturing technology in the automotive industry.
Although the exact amount invested in the business by Porsche’s investment arm, Porsche Ventures, was not disclosed, the automaker said it sees 3D printing as an “integral part” of the process. future digital manufacturing technology and therefore deserved “continuous and long-term use.” ” grab.
With this investment, Porsche will seek to digitize and improve its product manufacturing process and expand the application of additive manufacturing in the luxury car sector.
âDigital transformation has permeated all aspects of production and daily life, and is listed as one of the main issues in Porsche’s operational strategy,â said Jens Puttfarcken, President and CEO from Porsche China. âPorsche plans to stimulate the real application of additive manufacturing technology and harness the significant product and process innovation potential of 3D printing to provide customers with more flexible production and customization services. .
âWe are honored to support INTAMSYS as an important partner in Porsche’s digital transformation journey, as they help realize our vision for the future. “
Porsche’s adoption of 3D printing
While the move marks the âfirst foray of the automobile brand and manufacturer into additive manufacturingâ in the sense of the investment, its holding company and majority shareholder of the Volkswagen group, Porsche SE, has already invested funds in the manufacturer of ‘Markforged 3D printers, demonstrating the group’s confidence in the promise of technology for automotive applications.
As such, Porsche has been experimenting with the potential of 3D printing for some time. As of 2018, the company has been 3D printing a number of metal and plastic aftermarket parts for its rare and classic cars as a more cost-effective way to replace parts.
The company has since partnered with machine tool maker TRUMPF and auto parts company MAHLE to 3D print pistons for its 911 supercar engine, and has worked with 3D printer maker SLM Solutions. to print a proof of concept of the E-drive box, designed for on the front axle of its sports cars.
Porsche has also developed its own custom 3D printed bucket seats, featuring 3D printed padding and backrests with customizable stiffness settings. The bucket seat was initially limited to 40 prototypes intended for use on European racetracks in 2020, before becoming available to order for specific models of the company’s Boxster, Cayman and 911 supercars in October 2021.
Invest in INTAMSYS
Since entering the 3D printing industry in 2016, INTAMSYS has gained recognition for bringing high performance polymer 3D printing to the desktop with its FUNMAT PRO and FUNMAT PRO HT systems. The company has a comprehensive portfolio of industrial grade polymers, including PEKK, PEEK, ULTEM, PPSU, and PSU, available through its make-on-demand service.
INTAMSYS machines were used by ABIGO Medical to fill a spare part delivery shortfall and were installed by the Dutch Navy to improve their on-demand spare part manufacturing capabilities.
2021 saw the company close a number of fundraising rounds, the first in February in which the proceeds were used to continue product development and expand its European and US operations, and the second last month, which saw the Porsche involvement. According to Porsche, INTAMSYS has “made a breakthrough” in the small-scale production of automotive parts and components, which has motivated the investment.
âWe are delighted to see that our product and our vision are recognized and supported by Porsche,â said Charles Han, CEO of INTAMSYS. âIn the future, at INTAMSYS, we will continue our close cooperation with Porsche to develop more innovative products, expand the application of additive manufacturing and strengthen the digital transformation of manufacturing in the automotive industry, with the aim of making benefit more customers with high-tech solutions. . “
Porsche hopes its strategic investment in INTAMSYS will help Porsche digitize and improve its product manufacturing process, in line with the company’s plans to expand its application of 3D printing. The company’s goal is to become a âdigital mobility solutions providerâ in the luxury car segment, and it sees additive manufacturing as an integral part of that vision.
As the automotive sector gradually undergoes a digital transformation and embraces smarter technologies, Porsche sees the rapid deployment of 3D printing playing a key role in the digitalization of companies operating in this space. In addition, the manufacturer has identified that the technology opens up “new possibilities” in the development and manufacture of parts and components in small series.
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The image shown shows that Porsche has made a strategic investment in INTAMSYS. Photo via Porsche.