Dash CAE has quickly established itself as a leading supplier of parts for high-end vehicles to leading automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the United Kingdom. Established in 2006, the Oxford-based manufacturer originally built its trade by outsourcing its requirements to a service bureau. However, with clients demanding shorter lead times and the costs of outsourcing growing, Dash CAE decided to invest in its own 3D printing technology.
Le Mans car and Formula One chassis, 3D printed on a Fortus 400mc Production System.
Endurance prototypes designed to go the distance.
Dash CAE’s choice of 3D printing technology depended heavily on the technology’s capability to produce vehicle components for functional testing in harsh environments.
Race-ready end-use parts.
“Our primary interest for the Fortus was to develop processes for molding carbon fiber parts,” says Robathan. “I believe, as a result, we have pioneered tooling for composite parts – both for direct and lost tooling.”
With its tooling business growing rapidly and an increasing requirement for high-performance end-use parts, Dash CAE decided to invest in an additional FDM 3D printer, the Fortus 250mc 3D printer.
Dash CAE 3D printed diffuser floor, seen on a Tesla underneath the license plate, on its Fortus 400mc Production System.
Lead times cut by 83%.
Robathan says that in-house 3D printing has reduced the company’s lead times by 83% for the production of parts and tools. “In industries such as Formula One, being able to deliver parts at the drop of a hat is what makes or breaks us.”
Robathan estimates the 3D printers are in near-constant use. “This clearly demonstrates how instrumental the technology is to our workflow and complements our design office by offering one-stop solutions for our customers.”
Today, the company’s 3D printers work around the clock to deliver fully functional parts for its Formula One customers, as well as support the direct manufacturing of tools for its ever-growing OEM client base – including household names such as Jaguar and Renault. Applications include the 3D printing of molds for carbon prepregs (fabric reinforcement), as well as the production of drill and bonding jigs.