Concrete Products

SEP 2017

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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46 • September 2017 www.concreteproducts.com INNOVATIONS REPORT TRUCKS A European sister operation of Daimler Trucks North America has taken 3D printing to the next stage: Production of heavy-duty model parts, starting with a thermostat cover. "With the introduction of 3D metal printing technology, Mer- cedes-Benz Trucks is reasserting its pioneering role among global commercial vehicle manufacturers," contends Customer Services & Parts Head of Marketing & Operations Andreas Deuschle. "We ensure the same functionality, reliability, durability and cost-ef- fectiveness with 3D metal parts as we do with conventionally produced parts." The division began automotive 3D printing for after-sales and replacement parts markets in 2016. Since then, it has worked with Daimler AG researchers and pre-developers to improve and expand the use of the latest 3D printing processes for plastic parts. 3D printing of high-quality plastic components has now successfully established itself as a production method, especially in limited batches. Mercedes-Benz Trucks engineers see additional promise in 3D-printed metal parts, which excel with their very high strength and thermal resistance, and entail a process particularly suited to produc- tion of mechanically and thermally stressed components required in small numbers. Metallic components can be produced at the touch of a button with any geometry. 3D-printed replacement parts production began with rarely ordered aluminum items; they exhibit nearly 100 percent density and greater purity than conventional die-cast parts. Beyond their high strength, hardness, and dynamic resistance, 3D-printed metal part production requires no cost-intensive develop- ment work or procurement of special tools. Conceivable areas of use are peripheral engine parts made of metal, in-engine parts and also parts in cooling systems, transmissions, axles or chassis. Especially in the face of complex structures, 3D-printed metal can prove cost effective for producing infrequently requested parts or those for small or classic model series. "The availability of spare parts during a workshop visit is essen- tial for our customers—no matter how old the truck is, or where it is located. The particular added value of 3D printing technology is that it considerably increases speed and flexibility, especially when producing spare and special parts. This gives us completely new possibilities for offering our customers spare parts rapidly and at attractive prices, even long after series production has ceased," Deuschle concludes. 3D metal printing stands to allow decentralized and therefore much faster, local production directly in the worldwide Mercedes-Benz production locations. Expensive warehousing and the associated, complex transport processes would be unnecessary, with delivery times made shorter for customers. PREMIER PRINTED PRODUCT A new thermostat cover is an example of cost-effective spare and special parts production in top quality, aluminum alloy. The part is only ordered in small numbers, and used in truck models whose production ceased around 15 years ago. In contrast to the plastic sector's Selective Laser Sintering, 3D printing of metallic components uses Selective Laser Melting. The thermostat cover saw powdered aluminum/silicon material (AlSi 10 Mg) applied in individual layers and melted by an energy source—usually one or more lasers. When one layer is completed, a new layer of powder is applied automatically and the melting process repeated until a high-strength, three-dimensional aluminum component suit- able for use in areas of high temperature has been produced. Thanks to the layered structure, the process also offers a level of geometrical freedom that cannot be matched by any other production method. Daimler division prints first spare truck part of metal As part of an initiative to improve manufacturing targets of quality, efficiency and being a 'Great Place to Work,' Daimler Trucks North Amer- ica is developing a logistics center at its Cleveland, N.C., plant—site of Freightliner and Western Star Class 8 model assembly. "This is our next step toward continued manufacturing excellence involving end-to-end logistics," says Cleveland Plant Manager Henning Bruns. "This important investment helps further our commitment to efficiency in all our processes, which benefits both our employees and our customers." Projected for early-2019 com- pletion, the $27 million center will consolidate multiple warehouses and allow for more efficient convey- ance of parts to the assembly lines, implementing advanced lean logis- tics concepts. An additional benefit will be the ability to convert forklifts to tuggers and automated guided vehicles, creating safer and more efficient traffic patterns. DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA BOOSTS FREIGHTLINER, WESTERN STAR SUPPORT Joining Plant Manager Henning Bruns (second from left) for the logistics center groundbreaking are Cleveland colleagues (from left) Stefan Pies, Bob Riley and Joel Demelza.

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