During CES 2017, one of the premier technology conferences in the world, attendees have been wowed by a pair of automotive innovations with composite applications.
Divergent 3D’s Blade, the world’s first 3-D printed supercar that has been making the rounds at various automotive and technology expos, was on display. The prototype of the Blade was first unveiled in 2015.
The car’s proprietary technology is the Node: a 3D printed aluminum joint that connects pieces of carbon fiber tubing to make up the car’s chassis. The Node process is believed to help to reduce emissions and create less waste as the number of materials used is reduced. According to 3-D printing blog 3ders.com, the Node technology makes the chassis 90 percent lighter than most vehicles.
Divergent 3D used the same technology to produce the Dagger – the company’s first 3-D printed superbike – that was also on display at CES. Divergent CEO Kevin Czinger says that the unique carbon fiber structure is 50 percent lighter than traditional motorcycle parts.
Another eye-catching automotive application was in German startup company Cikoni’s “Vision Van” for Mercedes-Benz. According to Innovation in Textiles, the van is powered by a 75 kW electric drive system with a range of up to 270 km, which makes deliveries emission-free.
The van’s cargo space management system is designed to automatically transfer packages for delivery through a package dispenser on board the vehicle. One of the central features of the system is its lightweight composite shelving system.
“One-shot-loading saves operator time and costs during loading: the fully equipped shelves are pushed into the Vision Van in one go. At the destination, the parcels are picked fully automated to reduce duration of delivery and significantly increase the output of each vehicle,” the company says. “An intelligent material mix of carbon [fiber], aluminum and sandwich materials guarantees high stability during brake application at minimum operating weight.”
Next year’s CES will take place in Las Vegas, January 9-12, 2018. For more information, visit http://www.ces.tech/.