Geneva: The EDAG Genesis Cockpit Concept highlights the future of auto production [video]

EDAG Genesis Cockpit Concept

We are used to seeing full vehicles being unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, or at least concepts that presage a future model, but the German engineering group EDAG stripped things down even further to imagine a future car cockpit. Really, it’s a way for the company to show off its next-generation manufacturing technology that allows it to make parts in a single production process.

The company says that a turtle’s skeleton inspired the cockpit’s design (which is a bit morbid), and that it features a protective shell on the outside to support the fragile parts inside. It’s made using a technique called fused deposition modeling, which is similar to the process used in 3D printing but on a much bigger scale. In the case of the Genesis, robots laid down layer after layer of thermoplastic to produce the complex shape. EDAG says that it could also be done with carbon fibre as well to offer strength and lightness.

The company admits that this technology is still in its infancy, and we are still far away from large-scale industrial production of components like this. However, it is technically possible. It believes that fused deposition modeling could revolutionize the auto industry by allowing new, stronger designs. The Genesis isn’t a car today, but it previews how they may be built tomorrow. Have a slightly more dynamic look at the concept in the video, below.

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Watch the Honda Civic Type R Concept Debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

One Component – One Module – One Body – One Vision

With its latest exhibit, “EDAG GENESIS “, EDAG offers a visionary outlook for the future of automotive development and production.

A component, module, or even a complete, one-piece vehicle body produced in one single production process! Impossible? Current advances in additive manufacturing have brought what still sounds like Utopia one step closer to reality! Reason enough for EDAG, one of the leading engineering service providers in the automotive industry, to assess the status quo of additive manufacturing processes with a view to their industrial application for components, modules and complete vehicle bodies, and analyse a possible time frame.

At the Geneva Motor Show, EDAG will be presenting a futuristic vehicle sculpture “EDAG GENESIS”, which, using the example of a body structure, is designed to demonstrate the revolutionary potential of additive manufacturing. “EDAG GENESIS” is based on the bionic patterns of a turtle, which has a shell that provides protection and cushioning and is part of the animal’s bony structure. The framework of the exhibit calls to mind a naturally developed skeletal frame, the form and structure of which should make one thing perfectly clear: these organic structures cannot be built using conventional tools! In the future, additive manufacturing could benefit designers and engineers by opening up enormous freedoms and new design options for development and production.

Future or Utopia? The EDAG analysis supplies the answers!
A multi-disciplinary team of EDAG designers and specialists from the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction took a close look at the potential of a number of promising additive manufacturing processes, and discussed them with research and industrial experts. Possible candidates for the situation analysis of additive manufacturing were technologies such as selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), stereolithography (SLA), and fused deposition modelling (FDM).

In the assessment, a specially developed evaluation matrix was used to quantify the technologies; this included criteria such as structural relevance, possible part size, production tolerance and manufacturing costs. The results showed that a refined FDM process also looked to be a promising candidate for the future-oriented subject of additive manufacturing. Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space – without any tools or fixtures whatsoever.

By introducing endless carbon fibres during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values.

Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future.

From today’s point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is completely feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision.

The EDAG Group will be keeping a close watch on the evolution of additive manufacturing. The target: to develop and present practicable and valid applications for use in component development and production. The first stage will be small structural parts; however, we intend to make a real contribution to the development of the revolutionary idea of additive manufacturing.

EDAG – to us, engineering serves one purpose: improvement

We are experts in the development of complete vehicles and production plants. When it comes to automobile development, our customers need someone who sees mobility not so much as a product characteristic, but as a fully integrated concept. Development with passion. That’s us. The integrated development and optimisation of products and production facilities – these are our skills and our strengths. They have made us what we are today: the largest, independent engineering experts in the automotive industry. Under the parent company EDAG Engineering AG, a team of over 7,000 employees will in the future be available at 70 sites in America, Europe and Asia, to assist our customers with their project tasks.

Written by Lewis Shaw

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