World's first 3D printed supercar won 2016 North American Technology Innovation Award

In another notable moment for 3D printing technologies, consulting and market research firm Frost & Sullivan has named Divergent 3D, the manufacturing company responsible for Blade, the world’s first3D printed modular supercar, the winner of the 2016 North American Technology Innovation Award. The award was given after a thorough analysis of structural manufacturing in the automotive industry.

Divergent 3D, which we wrote about last year, has developed an innovative approach to automotive chassis manufacturing which involves a proprietary metal 3D printing process. The process, which utilizes direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), has resulted in a more efficient, lightweight, and sustainable chassis design, effectively allowing for a lower emission, and optimized supercar.

The key to the company’s innovation has been the development of the Node™, a 3D printed alloy joint which is capable of connecting carbon fiber tubing into modular structures, making up the car’s chassis. According to Frost & Sullivan, this novel 3D printed approach to chassis manufacturing actually uses less energy and raw materials than traditionally used processes, and makes the assembly of the chassis easier for manufacturers as it effectively eliminates the need for metal tooling and sampling equipment. As the consulting firm stated about the potentials of the Node technology, “The 3D Node™ technology has broad appeal and is expected to be used by automakers in Europe, Asia, and the United States in the next two to five years, and has the potential to set a benchmark through its installation in vehicles of all types."

Not only useful for supercars however, Divergent 3D’s technology can reportedly also be adapted to any vehicle type, making the company’s approach a potentially revolutionary one for the automotive manufacturing industry. Doraiswamy Bharath Sunderraj, a Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, explains, “Divergent 3D's chassis system can be applied to any vehicle type, from sports cars to pickup trucks. Because the chassis system is lightweight and reduces the overall weight of the vehicle, it can slash the total lifecycle emissions of a passenger vehicle in half and diminish the capital cost of designing and manufacturing vehicles by 10 times.”

Considering the impressive advances made possible by Divergent 3D’s proprietary 3D printing technology, it is not surprising that they received Frost & Sullivan’s 2016 North American Technology Award. Every year, the award is presented to a company that has demonstrated a novel and innovative use of new technologies, which is not only relevant to the industry in question, but presents new products and applications that are forward thinking and high performance.

Founder and CEO of Divergent 3D, Kevin Czinger says, ”It is an honor to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our innovation that stands to transform the automobile industry. This 2016 North American Technology Innovation Award is validation of our ongoing efforts to revolutionize car manufacturing by reducing the pollution and production costs of traditional manufacturing, resulting in a sustainable path forward for the car industry.”

Frost & Sullivan’s judges for the 2016 North American Technology Award looked at several factors when considering Divergent 3D against its competitors, including technology attributes and future business value. Among its other high points, it was the company’s Node system that truly impressed the judges, who gave the company a 9/10 and a 9.5/10 for both the aforementioned categories.

Having received Frost & Sullivan’s prestigious title, Divergent 3D is rising as a viable manufacturer of 3D printed vehicles, and perhaps in the next few years we will see their innovative and more efficient 3D printed chassis system implemented in car making on a large scale, making the automotive industry as a whole more affordable and green. 

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