3D printing enhances FCA product development

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has added a third dimension to its axle analysis process by printing see-through plastic components exclusively for test purposes

Conventional methods of evaluating oil flow inside axles and pinion carriers involve cutting windows into the components and then observing the fluid’s movement using a dynamometer. But with movement, oil turns milky and blocks the view afforded by two-dimensional windows. 

FCA US engineers have created a solution to this problem: the company now prints see-through plastic components exclusively for test purposes. It had already been using 3D printing for prototype production parts and now uses the technique as part of its R&D and wider product-development process. 

Parts are made from DSM SOMOS 11120 resin due to its ability to withstand elevated pressures and temperatures that occur during dynamometer testing. This new technology allows correlation to virtual analysis of fluid flow and, as a result, the company can gain a clearer evaluation of axle durability and efficiency.

April 30, 2015

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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