Car manufacturer Local Motors hascontinuous enhanced its autonomous electric vehicle Olli 2.0 to help meet the requirements of sustainable mobility. The shuttle Olli 2.0 has been unveiled two years ago and required a wide range of collaborations with material producers and software developers. The latest collaboration of the company is the one announced with parts manufacturer and materials producer CRP Technology for the manufacture of parts using Windform composite materials.
Carlo Lacovini, General Manager EMEA, Local Motors, states, “Olli is operating in campuses, stadiums, industrial districts and local communities around the world. To approve deployments in Europe, it needed some additional components, not required in US market.”
Among the 3D printed parts, there were the windshield wipers. Lacovinin explains that to add the wipers, they opted for the retrofit technique, or re-adaptation process, through an integration on the 2.0. model.
“We started from the original project, and we adapted it to our needs. These phases (retrofit and integration) were carried out in Italy, based on the original design produced by the Engineering Team in Chandler. It’s been a demanding job, since Olli 2.0 ’s unique design is characterized by a tall rectangular pod with wide-set headlights and expansive windows nestled between a frame. That’s exactly the reason why the wipers arm could not be positioned from above, but from the below side of the front window. Thus, the Local Motors’ Engineering Department designed a new front bumper with brackets for fixing both the wipers starter motor and the front wiper washer reservoir”, he adds.
During the wipers assembly phase, the Local Motors Engineering Team noticed that the motor protruded from the modified front bumper: “To avoid the issue we therefore thought – comments Iacovini – to add two coordinated covers, with the purpose of concealing the protruding part (the first cover) and protecting the pressure system of the washer reservoir from external agents (the second cover).”
Other parts that have been manufactured include the motor cover as well as the wipers washer reservoir flap valve.
The Local Motors team made a new design of the motor cover that should meet homogeneity requirements in the whole structure. Indeed, the water flap valve should be positioned symmetrically to the charging one.
Thereafter, they sent it to the CRP Technology team for the fabrication. The manufacturing process requires the combination of professional 3D printing / Powder Bed Fusion process with composite polymers fibers-reinforced (also known as Selective Laser Sintering). The manufacturing team used two materials from the Windform® TOP-LINE range: the polyamide-based composite material Windform XT 2.0 Carbon fiber reinforced for the wipers starter motor; and the polyamide-based composite material Windform LX 3.0 Glass fiber reinforced for the washer reservoir flap valve (component with mainly functional purpose, and partly aesthetic).
The Windform XT 2.0 Carbon fiber has already been used in several applications across the aerospace, space and mobility industries. It helps deliver the ideal aesthetic, functionality to a part while providing stiffness, strength and lightness. In this specific case, it supports the oscillatory movement of the motor. The part is a sort of protruding oblique parallelepiped with a puncture for the placement of the wipers arm and a smaller one for the water hose. In addition to its aesthetic rendering, the part placed next to the motor guarantees electromagnetic compatibility, resists the oscillating movement of the wiper arm and blade, withstands the continuous stress and vibrations caused by the traffic circulation on roads, and preserves the electrical unit from external agents.
Ideal for harsh applications, the Windform LX 3.0 Glass fiber withstands vibration, deformation, high and low temperatures, and liquids. The wipers washer reservoir flap valve has a rectangular structure frame and the flap valve is equipped with magnets to access the wipers washer reservoir. Its main purpose is to ensure quick access to the wipers washer reservoir positioned behind, to protect it from external agents and to resist the continuous stress and vibrations caused by the traffic circulation on roads.
After manufacturing the parts, CRP Technology carried out the final tests and delivery. Then a Local Motors’ supplier installed them on Olli without encountering any mounting and fixing issues. Afterwards Local Motors conducted on the “modified” Olli some electromagnetism tests in the anechoic chamber. The EMC testing concerned the whole windshield wipers with excellent results. No critical issues were proposed in regard to the 3D printed parts in Windform composites, CRP Technology confirms in a press release.
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