Entering the third dimension

Entering the third dimension

Modern technology is entering the aftermarket at a rapid pace, and innovative solutions are subsequently making their way into the hands of technicians. One development in particular is the use of 3D printing, which has the potential to produce original solutions that workshops can utilise.

Meyle uses its engineering and manufacturing know-how to integrate potential future manufacturing and production operations into its development processes. At Automechanika Frankfurt 2018, the spare parts manufacturer presented a fully functional and resilient 3D-printed prototype of the Meyle-HD transverse control arm, for BMW applications. Atopology optimisation was carried out for the transverse control arm, and this took into account the stress tests that occur during driving, such as emergency braking and potholes. The result saw an enormous reduction in weight of almost 30% due to the saving of production material, whilst also displaying potentially improved stability and load capacity of the control arm. Production material was only used where the applied forces required it in order to guarantee the load capacity of the control arm. The realisation of the advanced control arm – which was more than 2kg lighter than its OE counterpart – was made possible by a combination of the additive production and the know-how of Meyle’s engineers.

For Meyle, the 3D-printed control arm is an example of future applications for additive manufacturing techniques. “We have been dealing intensively with the subject of manufacturing technologies and solutions for quite some time,” explained Nils Ochsendorf, Technology Expert from Meyle’s Chassis and Steering Product Team. “We see here the potential to be able to serve customer enquiries for the supply of spare parts in a targeted manner – from enquiries for individual spare parts from classic car owners, to the production of new parts in small quantities. Thanks to our know-how as a manufacturer and the knowledge gained from the Meyle HD product line, we know our customers’ requirements for both high-quality and resilient parts and individual solutions very well. We are working on expanding this solution further through additive manufacturing, as well as implementing it in the 3D printing sector with a strong network of partners”.

Individual solutions

Meyle’s engineers are the contact for individual solutions, even in the areas of small batches and one-off productions. They deal with the possibilities of integrating potential future manufacturing and production operations into the development processes in order to be able to serve customer enquiries for spare parts supply in a targeted manner, from enquiries for individual spare parts from classic car owners, to the manufacture of new parts in small quantities. The company is working on further expanding its competence when developing these solutions through additive manufacturing and, for example, via 3D printing.

Learn more about the new MEYLE-HD control arm:

Meyle 3D

Meyle regards its -HD control arm for BMW and Mini as a technically improved aluminium control arm with a replaceable support joint and fastening material. The aluminium construction ensures that the control arms are well protected against corrosion and are particularly durable. The weight advantage of almost 20% compared to the OE counterpart offers advantages along the entire logistics chain. The kit consists of both control arms (left and right), matching -HD bushings with holders, and the necessary fastening material.

The company’s rigorous testing process was utilised in the production of the -HD kit at every stage of the process, from the initial idea, to production and comprehensive quality tests. Meyle claims that as a result of this, the solution will save technicians both time and money in everyday activities at their workshops.

Manufactured from aluminium, Meyle claims that the kit provides improved strength and durability. The smooth surface, created from a single piece, not only looks good, but is also less susceptible to cracking. In addition, the control arms are very well protected against corrosion by the aluminium used. At 4.2kg, the control arm is just under 20% lighter than OE, which not only reduces the total weight of the vehicle, but also lowers costs on day-to-day workshop and shipping activities, and saves required storage space.

In an independent TÜV NORD test report, the Meyle-HD control arm was tested in comparison to an OE part. In contrast to its OE counterpart, the control arm survived the test under realistic load situations without damage. The report stated: “On the basis of the operational durability tests carried out, it was found that the Meyle-HD control arms of type 3160500128/HD achieved more than twice the number of load cycles under the same dynamic loads and under identical test conditions as the triangular control arms by the vehicle manufacturer, and thus has a significantly longer service life.”

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