Siemens made two major announcements, this week. The German conglomerate is aggressively looking to change the dynamics of traditional manufacturing in the automotive segment. To this end, it has decided to invest 30 million Euros (Rs 229 crore) for expanding its state-of-the-art 3D-printing factory in the UK.
The company has partnered with Hackrod – a US-based digital manufacturing company – with the intention of introducing what is claimed to be the world’s first car designed by virtual reality, engineered with AI and 3D printed, full size, in structural alloy.
As per company claims, the car – dubbed 'La Bandita' – is its first proof of concept that will pave the road for what it claims to be the democratisation of engineering design and manufacturing. Siemens aims to put together a car production system that allows the consumer to be a creator in the automotive space. Hackrod, in turn, states that its factory of the future, which is powered by the Siemens Digital Innovation Platform, will enable individuals and small enterprises the unprecedented capability to create product as easily as playing a video game.
According to Dr Slade Gardner, CTO, Hackrod, "Our shared vision includes optimised aesthetic design, robust validated engineering, complex advanced manufacturing and rapid in-situ quality assessment."
"Hackrod's vision for automotive design is an exciting and unique use of our design and engineering software, and is completely in line with Siemens' vision for the future of manufacturing," said Bob Haburock, senior vice-president, Product Engineering Software, Siemens PLM Software "We look forward to seeing the ‘La Bandita’ speedster and using it as proof of concept for this revolutionary design to production methodology."
Siemens' manufacturing facility at Worcester, UK will be for Materials Solutions, its additive manufacturing (3D-printing) arm, is expected to start operations in September 2018. Siemens states that the facility will more than double its current footprint, this will enable it to increase its fleet of 3D-printing machines to 50. The expansion is also expected to support the creation of more than 50 high-quality new jobs in Worcester.
This major investment is part of Siemens' plans to build and grow a global business with additive manufacturing services for the aerospace industry, the automotive industry and other industries. The new factory will be fully powered by Siemens Digital Enterprise solutions – an end-to-end portfolio comprising of software-based systems and automation components which cover every conceivable requirement that arises along the industrial value chain. It will therefore harness the potential of digitalisation.
The automotive industry, which is on the brink of transition, has seen a lot of new changes not just in the manufacturing space but also in terms of product evolution. Consumer preferences are no longer limited to customisation in terms of colours or models. Their growing and diverse needs have made OEMs globally to introduce products that appeal to the new-age consumer.