Divergent 3D, a manufacturing technology company focused on the automotive sector, has entered into a global development partnership with engineering research and development (ER&D) firm Altran. The partnership comes shortly following Divergent 3D’s signing a strategic partnership letter of intent with top-ten global automaker PSA Group. Divergent 3D is commercializing a software-hardware platform for manufacturing that leverages 3D metal printing.
Under the agreement, Altran has invested in Divergent 3D and will provide support to accelerate implementation and licensing of its manufacturing technology platform across the continent as part of Altran’s new vehicle architecture initiatives. Together, the companies intend to help automakers leverage 3D printing to unleash design innovation while cutting costs, time-to-market and environmental impact.
Core to the Divergent manufacturing approach is the use of 3D printed metal alloy joints called Nodes. Nodes join aerospace-grade carbon fiber tubing into standardized building objects, resulting in an industrial-strength chassis that can be assembled in a matter of minutes.
Divergent says that its technology can reduce the vehicle structure weight of a standard five-passenger car by more than 50% and reduce the number of parts per vehicle by more than 75%.
Just as importantly, it can reduce the upfront capital cost required for hard metal tooling and stamping equipment (along with the associated factory costs) by up to 10 times or more. The cost implications of Divergent 3D’s technology for automakers are significant.
As a demonstration of capability, Divergent last year unveiled the Blade supercar with a Divergent 3D chassis. Equipped with a 700-horsepower bi-fuel engine that can use either compressed natural gas or gasoline, Blade goes from 0-60 in about two seconds and weighs around 1,400 pounds.
The dramatic transformation the auto industry is facing must take into consideration not only how to leverage disruptive innovation, but also how to reduce the capital required to bring connected and intelligent vehicles to market. This partnership will address both considerations by streamlining the process of creating and integrating complex systems that will make up the cars of the near and distant future. At the same time, Divergent 3D’s platform will help us optimize our customers’ value chains by lowering costs and speeding up development timelines.—Rob Vatter, CEO of Altran North America