Lehvoss North America is collaborating with FENA at AM lab in Michigan
PAWCATUCK, Conn.—A recently established collaboration between Lehvoss North America, LLC, and Forward Engineering North America (FENA), LLC, aims to support the automotive industry by filling the “knowledge gap” in design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). By collaborating, the companies will provide guidance in translating performance characteristics between additive manufacturing (AM) parts and injection molded parts, according to a release from Lehvoss North America.
Lehvoss North America is a provider of high-performance compounds and 3D printing materials. Forward Engineering North America, headquartered in Royal Oak, Michigan, is a newly established division of Forward Engineering GmbH, a global engineering and consulting firm that specializes in enabling cost effective inclusion of fiber-reinforced polymer composites in serial mass-produced automotive structures.
The two companies have established an additive manufacturing lab in Royal Oak to support automotive manufacturing and product development engineers and help them accelerate their product development programs. At the Lehvoss /Forward Engineering AM lab, engineers can work with the team to select the right materials and processes to meet their application requirements and, in many cases, can realize functional prototypes produced on site.
“Successful product development requires the right mix of design, material, and process,” said Adam Halsband, Forward Engineering North America’s managing director, in the release. “The Lehvoss/Forward Engineering collaboration, and establishment of the AM lab in the center of the North American automotive product development region, brings these resources together in a responsive package that is accessible to the engineers that need them.”
Martin Popella, sales and business development manager at Lehvoss North America, highlighted a key goal of the collaboration.
“Local support and bringing expertise around 3D printing together will create a hub for the 3DP value chain, further strengthening the region and accelerating the deployment of additive manufactured components at automotive OEMs and tier suppliers,” Popella said in the release.
One of the challenges to using 3D printed parts as structural automotive components has been the availability of materials for additive manufacturing that emulate the performance characteristics of highly-filled structural and semi-structural automotive grade, injection-molding grade resin compounds. Lehvoss, working to extend the range of applications for polymers, introduced 3D printing materials LUVOSINT® and LUVOCOM® 3F into the North American market. According to Lehvoss, these materials will ensure that the products produced from them in many industries are able to meet stringent functional and performance requirements.
The Lehvoss materials, with their application-specific properties, are based on almost all available thermoplastics and are custom compounded to individual customer requirements, the company said. The company has developed a family of high performance compounds that are available in pellet, filament, and powder formats for fused filament fabrication (FFF) and powder bed fusion additive manufacturing. The compounds are said to meet the demanding requirements of automotive OEM applications.
“Automotive OEMs and suppliers want to accelerate product development through the production of functional structural prototypes with additive manufacturing,” Popella said. “3F (FFF) printing offers a relatively fast and cost-effective means to produce these functional structural prototype parts that meet demanding performance requirements. However, the right materials and process parameters must be selected to deliver quality parts that meet targeted requirements, including quality, consistency, and repeatability.”
Forward Engineering has developed a 3F Twin Process to guide OEMs and Tiers in the translation of their product requirements to functional, structural 3F printed parts that emulate the performance of their injection-molded twin parts. In this way, concepts can be quickly developed, validated, and translated to production injection-molded products, according to the companies.