Giant prototypes at high speed
Materialise is well-known in the automotive industry for its extensive knowledge in the production of large prototypes. These large components are built in one piece on our exclusive Mammoth prototyping machines and serve as fully functional parts. When several copies of large parts are needed, Reaction Injection Moulding has proven to be the ideal solution. Materialise is able to help car manufacturers gain a significant competitive advantage by providing these unique patented solutions.
We offer two techniques for giant prototypes that complement each other:
After 10 years of experience in the rapid prototyping business, the Materialise team developed a unique machine to build huge stereolithography parts in one piece. The idea of producing large components without any gluing arose out of the growing demand for extremely fast and large prototypes of superior quality. The enthusiasm behind this whole idea resulted in the creation of a Mammoth machine with a build area of 2100x650x600mm. And now, only a few years later, the Materialise machine park houses several machines producing Mammoth parts at full speed and meeting the ever growing demand for larger and larger functional prototypes.
The main application of Mammoth stereolithography parts is as show and tell models or as large master elements for Reaction Injection Moulding (R.I.M.).
Besides this, these stereolithography parts can also be used as more functional, stronger parts through reinforcement with glass-fibre mats. This fibre reinforcement can be applied for parts such as car bumpers and interior trims.
Read more about Mammoth stereolithography in our technology overview on this website
Many well-known car manufacturers and first tier suppliers have found their way to Materialise, and more specifically to the R.I.M. technology when they are in need of a small number of copies in Polyurethane (PU) of large complex parts.
Based on the Stereolithography master part or directly milled, a resin tool is made and copies are moulded. For large automotive parts (mostly) epoxy tools with fibre backing are used. Materialise has developed a proper hybrid tooling technology that combines rigid and silicone tool halves. The flexibility of the silicone allows the moulding of limited undercuts without the need for any slides. This smart technology enables Materialise to speed up tool manufacturing.
The advantages are quite obvious: apart from the low cost and the fast availability of the parts, R.I.M. is a flexible solution for re-ordering. Automotive parts made by R.I.M. have properties close to the final product and can be made in a very wide range of materials.
R.I.M. products can be (texture) painted or coated thanks to the high-quality surface finish.
Read more about R.I.M. in our technology overview on this website