3DP Specialist Malcolm Nicholls Delivers Battery Display Model for Mahle

Mahle needed a model of its latest EV battery module on a tight deadline.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

June 17, 2024

1 Min Read
The 3D printed display model of Mahle's M3x battery module.
The 3D printed display model of Mahle's M3x battery module.Malcolm Nicholls Ltd.

At a Glance

  • Laser-cut acrylic walls and decorative cladding
  • CNC-machined side structures
  • SLA 3D-printed details

Prototyping, 3D printing, and low-volume manufacturing specialist Malcom Nicholls Ltd. was able to help Mahle Powertrain by providing a custom-made display model of that company’s new M3x EV battery module for exhibit

The Warwickshire, UK company, founded in 1971, is a three-generation family business delivering orders using stereolithography, fused deposition modelling, selective laser sintering, and 3D color printing.

In this case, Mahle needed a display replica of its new M3x battery module strong and durable enough for exhibit at multiple shows that was both cost-effective and within the timeframe to make the first show. It was like one of those television custom car or motorcycle shows with a fake deadline, but with a real deadline!

Mahle, you might recall, built its reputation on the strength of its sought-after forged pistons, today the company designs, develops, and integrates electric drivetrain components and systems. This includes motors, inverters, and transmissions, plus the control software to manage them.

The company needed a display model to highlight the benefits of its M3x battery module to show attendees. The M3x’s features include its superior cooling that ensures prolonged power delivery without having to de-rate the power level to protect the battery, the use of industry-standard 21700 cylindrical battery cells, and a modular architecture that can be configured for a variety of voltage, capacity, and packaging requirements.

Related:Air Force Lab Launches Initiative for 3D Printing On-Orbit

The Nicholls team says it solved the problem on a short deadline through collaborative planning. The company’s engineers work with Mahle to device a multi-faceted fabrication strategy. The model’s hybrid construction included:

  • Laser-Cut Acrylic Walls: Provided a stable base and showcased internal components.

  • CNC-Machined Side Structures: Ensured strength in detailed vulnerable areas.

  • Laser-Cut Decorative Cladding: Added a decorative but realistic touch.

  • SLA 3D Printing: Brought intricate front details to life with superior 3D form accuracy.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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