Imagine a startup co-founded by father and son engineers, based in the United States, making a world-class, record-breaking hypercar. Now imagine the underpinnings of the car are 3D printed metal, designed by artificial intelligence and assembled by robots.
It sounds like a stretch, even for Silicon Valley, but the team of Kevin Czinger and Lukas Czinger did just that.
Yahoo Finance had the chance to visit the Czinger Vehicle Plant near Los Angeles, California, where Kevin and his son Lukas are shocking the auto industry with the record-breaking 21C hypercar. The 21C broke production car lap records at the WeatherTech Laguna Seca racetrack in Salinas, California, and 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 started a 3D printing process using aluminum particles. the size of sand, which are laser-fused in-this-world, almost extraterrestrial parts.
The parts feel almost organic in nature as the team uses AI to design a lightweight, strong and appropriately sized part for ultimate performance. The parts are built using robots in a circular assembly line, an almost ballet-like dance that makes the parts efficient and versatile.
It’s Henry Ford’s assembly line taken in the third dimension.
“When you bring these [processes] together they allow you to create structures like this framework that have never been seen before,” Czinger Founder and CEO Kevin Czinger said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
“What you can do is use this computing to literally create in 3 dimensions a perfectly optimized structure, use 3D printing to materialize this perfectly designed structure, and then use automation to have a universal assembler assemble all the perfect structures together, seamlessly.”
This revolutionary process (which has over 100 patents) is how the team designed and built the C21 hypercar. Only 80 of the cars will be built, although the company unveiled a new concept a few weeks ago in Monterey, the Hyper GT grand touring coupe.
While there’s a lot of excitement around the vehicles Czinger makes, what intrigues many in the automotive industry is what Czinger and sister company Divergent Technologies are doing to bring its manufacturing process to new heights. other car manufacturers.
And just a few weeks ago, Divergent Technologies just announced a deal with British luxury carmaker Aston Martin (AML.L) to manufacture a rear assembly for its new DBR22 roadster.
The outsourced manufacturing business is potentially a big business for Divergent, as it provides a steady stream of customers and cash for the company to expand its 3D printing operation and universal robot assembly. The team thinks it will also be able to install robot assemblers in customer factories.
The Czinger duo think it makes sense for automakers because it’s less expensive to have parts built by Divergent, instead of the very capital-intensive process of making parts the traditional way – with castings, stampings and even forging.
“Compared to the bet you’re making in automotive today, you’re like, ‘I’m going to invest X hundreds of millions in a new stamping and foundry plant, I’m going to amortize this out of X hundreds of thousands of sales per year’ , out of Y number of years’ – that’s a very big gamble to make,” Lukas Czinger told Yahoo Finance. “With us, you turn to Divergent and Czinger, we’ll be your outsourced manufacturing partner, you pay us per unit – it’s a scalable and very attractive economic structure.”
Now comes the big bet for Czinger and Divergent, who are investing heavily in more 3D printers and robot assemblers to make parts for traditional automakers, as well as the booming Czinger vehicle business.
The father and son couple said 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 on Twitter and on instagram.
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