Audi Adopts Stratasys Full Color Multi-Material 3D Printing to Innovate and Accelerate Automotive Design
Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) today announced that 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 – to innovate its design process and accelerate design verification. For the production of tail light covers, Audi expects to reduce prototyping lead times by up to 50 percent.
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The Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center will use the unique J750 3D Printer to produce ultra-realistic, multi-colored, transparent tail light covers in a single print (Photo: Business Wire)
Before a new vehicle goes into production, the Audi Pre-Series Center in Ingolstadt builds physical models and prototypes for the brand to evaluate new designs and concepts thoroughly. This requires allocation of most parts of the vehicle in an early stage of product development – everything from wheel covers and door handles to radiator grills. Traditional methods, such as molding and milling, are commonly used to create and replicate new designs. However, 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.
In the case of tail light covers, the team traditionally used milling or molding to produce individual parts. The main challenge with these production techniques are the multi-colored covers of the tail light housing. These individual color parts must be assembled, as they cannot be produced in one-piece. This time-intensive process increases lead times for design verification and subsequently delays time-to-market.
Ultra-realistic color, multi-material prototyping accelerates design
Streamlining the process, the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center will use Stratasys’ J750 full-color, multi-material 3D printing. This 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.