Stratasys and Audi recently announced a new partnership between their two companies. The automotive and additive manufacturing companies have been working together since 2002, but now “the Audi Pre-Series Center with its Plastics 3D Printing Center in Ingolstadt, Germany, will leverage the world’s only full-color, multi-material 3D printer – the Stratasys J750.”
The J750 will be used to help reduce prototyping lead times for automotive tail light covers. Audi foresees this 3D printer reducing these lead times by up to 50 percent. Prototypes of these automobiles are created in order for Audi “to evaluate new designs and concepts thoroughly.” Traditionally, methods such as molding and milling have been used in order to create such prototypes. But not anymore.
3D printing speeds up the entire process: “the use of plastics 3D printing has become an integral part of the automotive design process at the Audi Pre-Series Center, enabling the team to overcome limitations of conventional processes and accelerate design verification.”
Stratasys’ J750 “will enable production of entirely transparent, multi-colored tail light covers in a single print, eliminating the need for its previous multi-step process. With over 500,000 color combinations available, the team can 3D print transparent parts in multiple colors and textures that meet the stringent requirements of the Audi design approval process.”
As Head of the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center Dr. Tim Spiering concludes: “Design is one of the most important buying decisions for Audi customers, therefore it’s crucial we adhere to supreme quality standards during the design and concept phase of vehicle development. As a result, we need prototypes to have exact part geometries, no distortion and extremely high quality, as well as true-to-part color and transparency. The Stratasys J750 3D Printer will offer us a significant advantage, as it allows us to print the exact textures and colors our design defines. This is essential for getting design concepts approved for production. In terms of 3D printing transparent parts, I have not seen a comparable technology that meets our standards. 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 by using this 3D print technique in our prototyping process of tail light covers.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Audi and Stratasys