Mahle collaborates with SLM Solutions to offer serial AM production to automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers

Mahle, an automotive development partner and supplier whose components are found in half the vehicles around the world*, is collaborating with additive manufacturing (AM) firm SLM Solutions to enable OEM and Tier 1 suppliers to use metal AM in serial production.

The two companies aim to improve the speed and quality of automotive component manufacturing in both prototyping and serial production.

The components will be printed with aluminium and stainless-steel alloys, which are remarkably resilient, corrosion resistant, and topology optimised to reduce overall weight.

The flexibility of AM will enable the complex structures to be produced with ease while still adhering to the strict quality standards of the automotive industry.

‘3D printing for mobility just makes sense,’ commented Sam O’Leary, CEO of SLM Solutions. ‘Our cooperation with Mahle revolutionises the production of automotive components by making them better, stronger, and lighter, not to mention more climate-neutral.’

Mahle’s 3D printing centre in Stuttgart will play a crucial part in strengthening its role as a leading development partner for OEMs by increasing the pace of prototype production. The new centre will reduce production time from several months to just a few days, thereby simultaneously accelerating the drive towards climate-neutral mobility. The focus will rest primarily on components from the fields of thermal management, mechatronics, and electronics.

‘The development of new systems and components has to be much faster today than it was a few years ago, especially when it comes to solutions for sustainable CO2-neutral drive systems,’ said Michael Frick, Mahle CFO and chairman of its management board. ‘With our new 3D printing center and SLM Solutions as a technology partner, Mahle is once again stepping up the pace in its strategic fields, for example, E-mobility.’ 

The new collaboration formalises a pre-existing cooperation between the two firms.

Around the world, an estimated 120 SLM Solutions systems for automotive applications are already running at OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. A dedicated application engineer from SLM Solutions will support Mahle, from prototyping to series production and the production of manufacturing equipment.

Mahle is broadly positioned in the areas of powertrain technology and thermal management with a clear focus on future topics relating to mobility. As part of its dual strategy, the firm is working both on the intelligent combustion engine for the use of hydrogen and other no-fossil fuels, and on technologies that will help the fuel cell and e-mobility achieve broad acceptance in the markets. The product portfolio of the company, which was founded in 1920, addresses all the crucial aspects of the powertrain and air conditioning technology. 

In 2020, Mahle generated sales of approximately €9.8 billion. The firm is represented in over 30 countries in 160 production locations and 12 major research and development centres.

*As stated by Mahle in the source material for this news story.