CastAutoGen: Hybrid production chain casting generating for automotive applications

Engineering for performance-enhanced and variant-intensive cast aluminium components

Electric drive trains or high-performance vehicles produced in small quantities actually require new functionally integrated components or the possibility of a tool-free production of low-volume variants. However, the die-casting process established in lightweight aluminium construction allows for hardly any increase in functional complexity and variance.

A possible combination of aluminium die-casting and additive manufacturing (AM) unites the diverse geometric degrees of freedom and functional integration of AM components with the high productivity and economic viability of die-casting. The complexity is increased by casting powder bed based metallic AM components, to act, for instance, as heat exchangers or reinforcements. Although the manufacturing cost is are higher than that of a pure die-cast component, it is still significantly below the cost of 100% additive manufacturing.

The cast component can also be locally reinforced or stiffened by means of laser cladding. Several demonstrators have been created in Cast AutoGen, and demonstrate their functionality in selected tests carried out by the EDAG Group.

Thanks to the EDAG Group's engineering know-how, several component variants can be produced at Trimet from an existing casting tool, in cooperation with Audi, Oerlikon AM, ZF, Fraunhofer IWS and IWU. The high tooling costs can therefore be spread across variants, thus increasing the cost-effectiveness of low-volume series. An extended identical parts strategy for derivatives and high-end vehicles can be made possible.

The "CastAutoGen" project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Agent 3D programme, under the number FKZ 03ZZ0213C.

We see great potential for this application in the high-end derivatives of our OEM customers, and offer the transfer of this engineering know-how through practical cooperation with us.



Dr. Jan Leilich

Head of Innovations