Why Czinger’s 3D-printed hypercar is the future of manufacturing

Why Czinger’s 3D-printed hypercar is the future of manufacturing

Why Czinger’s 3D-printed hypercar is the future of manufacturing

Imagine a startup founded by father and son engineers, based in the US, creating a world-class, record-breaking hypercar. Now imagine that the car’s foundation is 3D printed metallic, designed by artificial intelligence and assembled by robots.

That sounds far-fetched, even for Silicon Valley, but the team of Kevin Czinger and Lukas Czinger have done just that.

Czinger 21C (Credit: Czinger)

Czinger 21C (Credit: Czinger)

Yahoo Finance had the chance to visit the Czinger vehicle factory near Los Angeles, California, – where Kevin and his son Lukas are shocking the automotive industry, with the record 21C hypercar. The 21C broke lap records for production cars at the WeatherTech Laguna Seca Racetrack in Salinas, California, and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

What makes this so impressive is that the 21C is made by the Czinger team in a small warehouse outside of Los Angeles, where the two co-founders pioneered a 3D printing process with sand-sized aluminum particles that are laser-melted in -this world, almost alien parts.

The parts look almost organic because the team uses AI to design a part that is light, strong and appropriately sized for ultimate performance. The parts are constructed using robots in a circular assembly line, an almost ballet-like dance that makes the parts in an efficient and versatile way.

It is Henry Ford’s assembly line taken to the third dimension.

“When you bring them [processes] together they allow you to create structures like this framework that have never been seen before,” said Czinger founder and CEO Kevin Czinger in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

“What you can do is use that computing to literally create in 3 dimensions a perfectly optimized structure, use 3D printing to materialize that perfectly designed structure, and then use automation to have a universal assembler assemble all perfect structures seamlessly. “

Czinger / Divergent robot assemblers

Czinger / Divergent robot assemblers

This revolutionary process (counting over 100 patents) is how the team designed and built the C21 hypercar. Only 80 of the cars will be built, although the company revealed a new concept a few weeks back at Monterey, the Hyper GT grand touring coupe.

Although there is a lot of excitement surrounding the vehicles Czinger makes, many in the automotive industry are interested in what Czinger, and its sister company Divergent Technologies, are doing to bring their manufacturing process to other automakers.

Czinger / Divergent robot assemblers

Czinger / Divergent robot assemblers

And just a few weeks ago, Divergent Technologies announced a deal with British luxury carmaker Aston Martin ( AML.L ) to make a rear mount for its new DBR22 roadster.

The outsourced manufacturing venture is potentially big business for Divergent, as it provides a steady stream of customers and cash for the company to expand its 3D printing and universal robotic assembly operations. The team believes it will be able to install robotic assemblers on the customer’s factory floor as well.

The Czinger duo believe this makes sense for car companies because it’s cheaper to have Divergent build parts for them, rather than the capital-intensive process of making parts the traditional way – with casting, stamping and even forging.

Aston Martin DBR22 (Credit: Aston Martin)

Aston Martin DBR22 (Credit: Aston Martin)

“Compared to the capital investment you make in a car today, you say ‘I’m going to invest X hundreds of millions in a new stamping and casting plant, I’m going to amortize it over X hundreds of thousands of sales per year, over Y number of year’ — it’s a very cap-ex heavy bet to make,” Lukas Czinger told Yahoo Finance. “With us, you look to Divergent and Czinger, we’ll be your outsource production partner, you pay us on a unit basis — it’s a scalable, very attractive, financial structure.”

Now comes the big push for Czinger and Divergent, which is investing heavily in multiple 3D printers and robotic assemblers to make parts for traditional automakers, as well as for the burgeoning Czinger auto business.

Father and son say they have more deals to announce with major automakers in the coming months.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him further Twitter and on Instagram.

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