Volkswagen and other automotive companies have utilized 3D printing technologies on a very small scale to date, with it limited to the special production of individual parts or prototypes. However, Volkswagen is about to take a big leap forward, with it aiming to be the first automotive manufacturer to use 3D printing technology for the mass production of vehicles.
Volkswagen and 3D Printing for Mass Production
This breakthrough can be credited to Volkswagen using the latest 3D printing technology: the “HP Metal Jet” process, which simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing. With this new process, productivity improves fifty times compared to other 3D printing methods and depending on the component. This enables the production of a large number of parts using 3D printing for the first time — without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools. Also, this significantly reduces the time required to manufacture parts.
“Automotive production is facing major challenges: our customers are increasingly expecting more personalization options. At the same time, complexity is increasing with the number of new models. That’s why we are relying on state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a smooth and fast production. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in manufacturing of individual parts.” – Dr. Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen
Read More: Technology Features in the 2019 VW Jetta
Volkswagen 3D Printing with HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy
Volkswagen is partnering with HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy for the development of 3D printer technology for the manufacture of automobiles. Along with the Metal Jet Printer from HP, GKN Powder Metallurgy intends to establish a process chain geared toward automotive production for Volkswagen. The aim is to have the first structural components for the mass-production of vehicles with 3D printing technology in approximately two to three years.