Dresden-based Additive Drives, a manufacturer of 3D printed electric motor components, has secured a seven-digit seed investment from Munich-based investor AM Ventures three months after its foundation.
The $1.5 million investment will further advance the firm’s market launch and scale-up its activities in prototyping and high-performance series applications.
“Additive manufacturing is becoming more mature and is increasingly opening up applications that are revolutionizing entire industries. Additive Drives is a perfect example of this,” said Arno Held, Chief venture officer at AM Ventures. “With dramatically accelerated development times and massive improvements in weight, volume, and performance, this product will contribute to electrifying not only motorsports, aviation, and micro-mobility.”
Additive Drives and 3D printing
At present, Additive Drives is focusing on the manufacture of copper windings, the main component within electric motors. The firm streamlines the production process of these components with CAD data obtained from designers, shortening the development time and number of test cycles.
Manufacturing the windings through 3D printing creates greater flexibility in the development process, by speeding up and simplifying the validation of designs without the requirement of tools. Additionally, the winding geometries can be optimized for series applications in a way that conventional manufacturing does not allow.
So far, Additive Drives has completed several 3D printed use cases, including a single coil within a racing car motor, a hairpin winding in an e-traction motor, and a single coil in an e-bike motor. According to the company, using 3D printing for the manufacture of these components can enable production speeds and performance increases of up to 45%.
“Since our foundation in July 2020 we have successfully entered the automotive market,” said Dr. Jakob Jung, CEO and co-founder of Additive Drives. “Our vision is to halve the development time for electric motors and to expand our technological leadership in additive-manufactured electric motors.”
The firm is supported by TU Bergakademie Freiberg university and start-up network Saxeed, among others. Additive Drives’ team is also conducting an Exist research transfer project at TU Bergakademie to further develop and scale its technology.
3D printing electric motor components
Electric motors and motor components are becoming increasingly prevalent across the automotive sector, which is seeing a gradual decline of the combustion engine amid international demand for cleaner fuels and transport. 3D printing has assisted in numerous innovations within the manufacture of electric motor components in this field, one of which includes the manufacturing of titanium motor nodes for e-bikes.
In 2017, scientists from Technical University of Chemnitz in Germany developed a unique multi-material 3D printing process for making electric motors. The goal of the technique was to create motors with a greater overload capacity so that electric-powered machines and devices could run longer without getting damaged.
Elsewhere, Californian metal 3D printer manufacturer VELO3D partnered with Australian automotive company PWR to develop new cooling technology for motorsport, as well as battery cell, electronics, and aerospace applications.
Most recently, a team of ten ETH Zurich students used Sintratec 3D printing technology to design and manufacture a fully functional prototype of an electric motorcycle, which included two 3D printed electric motors.
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Featured image shows Additive Drive’s single coil winding race application. Image via Additive Drives.