The German car manufacturer Audi is to install a Stratasys J750 3D printer at its Plastics 3D Printing unit, which is part of the Pre-Series Centre in Ingolstadt, Germany to accelerate its prototyping.
The J750 will be used in the design of tail light covers with Audi hoping to reduce prototyping lead times by up to 50 percent. Audi uses the Pre-Series Center in Ingolstadt to build physical models and prototypes of its vehicles to evaluate new designs and concepts. The company has increasingly been using 3D printing of plastics for this purpose alongside more traditional methods, such as molding and milling.
The multi-coloured tail light covers had been produced using conventional methods but this meant making individual coloured parts that each have to be verified before being assembled. But with the J750 Audi will be able to produce completely transparent, multi-colored tail light covers in a single print.
Dr Tim Spiering, head of the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center, says that design is important to Audi’s customers, adding: “As a result, we need prototypes to have exact part geometries, no distortion and extremely high quality, as well as true-to-part colour and transparency. The Stratasys J750 3D Printer will offer us a significant advantage, as it allows us to print the exact textures and colours 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.”
Audi is no stranger to 3D printing with The Plastics 3D Printing Centre already operating ten polymer 3D printers, including a range of Stratasys FDM and PolyJet 3D Printers.