VW using 3D printing for Parts
Volkswagen is using 3D printing for the first time for production of car parts.
Volkswagen is the first automotive manufacturer using the latest 3D printing technology with the “HP Metal Jet” process that simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing.
The biggest advantage: productivity improves fifty times compared to other 3D printing methods and depending on the component. Hence, for the first time, three-dimensional printing is mass production ready in the automotive industry.
Together with printer manufacturer HP and component manufacturer GKN Powder Metallurgy, Volkswagen is therefore pressing ahead with the development of the technology for mass production.
A Volkswagen vehicle is manufactured from 6,000 to 8,000 different parts.
Previous 3D printing processes can, however, only be used for the special production of individual parts or prototypes.
The additive 3D Metal Jet technology from HP enable the production of a large number of parts using 3D printing for the first time – without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools.
This significantly reduces the time required to manufacture parts. As a result, the process is now also interesting for the production of large quantities in a short period of time.
In collaboration with HP and GKN, Volkswagen is further developing the technology so that design elements can be printed in a small series at first.
This will be the prerequisite, to be able to produce individualized design parts such as tailgate lettering, special gear knobs or keys with personalized lettering for customers without a great deal of effort.
The plan is to be able to offer this kind individualization proposition to customers as soon as possible.
The new 3D printing process using the HP Metal Jet process is an additive process in which parts are produced layer by layer using a powder and binder.
The component is then “baked” into a metallic component in the so-called sintering process. This differs from previous processes in which powder is melted by means of a laser.
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