Engineers engaged on the Tahoe modified the design of the spoiler on the higher a part of the car’s tailgate to make sure the big SUV met its gasoline economic system certification numbers if examined by the EPA. The revamped spoiler required a brand new half, what GM calls a closeout seal. The rubberlike elements mount at every finish of the spoiler, simply above the tailgate.
The half is often made in a course of referred to as injection molding. But a brand new injection-molded closeout seal, GM realized, would take a minimal of 12 weeks to supply.
Bardsley, the design launch engineer for the closeout seal, labored with engineers in two GM labs on the firm’s sprawling Global Technical Center in Warren, Mich. First, the Additive Innovation Lab 3D-printed a couple of closeout seals to check whether or not a 3D-made model of the half might meet the automaker’s high quality and look requirements.
“We were able to get some seals pretty quickly for preliminary testing. We wanted to as closely as possible replicate the injection-molded seal,” Bardsley mentioned.
With the early seals displaying promise, GM’s Additive Industrialization Center made the following iteration of the seal out of the production-intent materials to find out whether or not it could possibly be produced in excessive quantity. Bardsley held samples of the second iteration in her hand in simply two days. From there, GM solicited bids from suppliers to make the half.
The job went to GKN Forecast 3D, a Carlsbad, Calif., outfit that’s a part of GKN Additive.
“We had the right technology and the right capabilities at the right time to help out with this particular problem,” John Dulchinos, president of GKN Additive, advised Automotive News.
GKN invested in additive manufacturing machines that use a type of binder jet printing, which may make many components at one time.