Siemens business Materials Solutions has re-created the steering box from a 100-year-old car using reverse engineering and metals additive manufacturing – without access original technical drawings.
Using the latest scanning technology to digitally put the parts of the broken Ruston Hornsby steering box back together, a working model was created which could be 3D printed.
Reverse engineering in this way can be used across all industries to replicate parts which are no longer made. By using this innovative method, it took just five days to build the steering box as a robust, single piece prior to post processing – something which would have been unachievable using traditional manufacturing methods.
Materials Solutions has customers in many industries, including power generation, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive and motor sport. It produces many components including high temperature parts found in gas turbines and jet engines as well as tooling applications.
The company specialises in selective laser melting with expert knowledge of nickel based super alloys, steels, titanium and aluminum processes. This type of AM means they can help customers solve high end complex problems around tight geometrical tolerances in high temperature environments.
Phil Hatherley, General Manager, Materials Solutions, said: “The great thing about AM is that it is digitalisation you can touch! We thrive in working with complex materials, geometries and environments. Working on the part for the car showed the value of an end-to-end service from design right through to selecting the right material, printing and post production.
“AM allows you to design components which couldn’t be manufactured traditionally. This could potentially improve the performance of the product, it could allow a group of components to be produced as one or it could be a prototype where the cost and timing of tooling is prohibitive. It is important for us to work with our customers, in all industries, to show what the possibilities and applications are.”
Earlier this year a £27m investment in a new factory was announced which will increase the footprint and capabilities of the company. The new building, set to open in December this year, will enable it to increase its fleet of 3D printing machines from 15 to 50 over the next five years.