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China’s automobile industry bets on 3D printing and composite materials

News International-French

29 Jun 2017

The Shanghai International Automobile City, one of the largest auto manufacturing base in China, home to Chinese and foreign auto and auto electronic enterprises such as Shanghai Volkswagen and the Toyota R&D Center, has signed a deal with Xi’an-based National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center – the only one of its kind in China - in the Jiading district of Shanghai.

China’s automobile industry bets on 3D printing and composite materials

The cooperation was prompted by the rising importance of 3D printing technology and the added efficiency it brings to auto manufacturing. Whereas traditional auto manufacturing comprises 20,000 parts, a 3D printed automobile only has about 40.

The two parties will join hands in the establishment of an auto 3D printing public service platform which will be dedicated to auto structure design research, prototype vehicle rapid manufacturing technology research, compound material mold making technology, and equipment research.

In addition, the partnership seeks to build an automobile research institute in Jiading to strengthen R&D in the new energy vehicle sector.

Lu Bingheng, chief engineer of the research institute and an academic at Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Vice District Director Lu Zufang were at the launch ceremony, as reported by the local newspaper Shanghai Daily.

“Current electronic vehicles all use traditional vehicle body while specific model EVs are yet to be made,” said Lu. With the introduction of composite materials, the vehicle weight can be cut by 40-50 percent. Lu anticipates the institute will help to produce tailored auto bodies for electric cars, which will be much lighter than traditional auto bodies.

“In order to promote widespread use of new energy cars, it is a trend to make them lighter. The research institute will put much effort in this respect,” Lu said. The institute aims to build an innovation platform especially for automobile making, serving car enterprises in lowering research and development costs and improving up efficiency. The innovation on the key technologies can be expected.