Audi and 3D
“Design is one of the most important buying decisions for Audi customers,” says the company’s Dr. Tim Spiering, who continues, “therefore it’s crucial we adhere to supreme quality standards during the design and concept phase of vehicle development.”
The company has what it calls its “Pre-Series Center” at its Ingolstadt complex, where physical models of parts and vehicles are produced so that there can be a tangible understanding of what is being developed before production commences. At the center they do a lot of molding and milling.
But that’s changing.
Spiering: “We need prototypes to have exact part geometries, no distortion, as well as true-to-part color and transparency.”
And at this point we should mention that Spiering’s title is Head of the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center, because 3D printing is a tech that is making a significant difference at the Pre-Series Center.
Lamp covers printed by Audi on a Stratasys unit
A case in point are tail light covers. Traditionally, in order to get a multi-colored model it was necessary to produce individual pieces and then assemble them, which was time-intensive.
Now Audi is using a full-color, multi-material, 3D printer from Stratasys, the J750.
Spiering explains, “Using the J750 for the prototyping of tail light covers we will be able to accelerate our design verification process. We estimate time savings of up to 50 percent.”
The Stratasys printer allows a single piece that, Spiering says, has “the exact textures and colors our design defines. This is essential for getting design concepts approved for production.”
And giving a big nod to the J750, Spiering notes, “In terms of 3D printing transparent parts, I have not seen a comparable technology that meets our standards.”
Honda is an engine company.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is just one manufacturing method that drives advanced mobility forward and also has a history of embracing the digital connectivity demanded by this trend.
According to Kunihiro Hoshi, chief engineer for the GX 470: “Three of my top goals were to create a body-on-frame vehicle with sweeping off-road performance and unibody-like on-road capability, and, of course, it had to meet the Lexus quality standard.” He met his goals. But why would anyone want to bang this vehicle around on rocks?