Volkswagen had teamed up with HP last year for the production of 3D printed automotive parts in large batches. Now, the two companies have announced that after just one year, they have crossed the milestone of making over 10,000 3D printed metal parts. This came about when HP worked with GKN Powder Metallurgy to make a set of 3D printed ID. 3 models to support the launch of the ID.3 electric vehicle. The production run was for more than 10,000 miniature models of the car which measured about an inch in length. The Volkswagen team in charge of 3D printing had identified as the most viable one at this point in time. The main advantage of using 3D printing for the models was that it was more cost-effective than producing them traditionally. Hence, though this cannot be considered as mass production of final automotive parts, it does mark a significant advance in the use of 3 D printing as the first stage of its three-phase strategic roadmap to functional production.
Commenting on the achievement, Dr. Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen said that the company’s vision to industrialize additive manufacturing through the use of HP Metal Jet has fast become a reality.
Goede added, “The pace of innovation by HP and advanced capabilities of the technology has exceeded our expectations. We are meeting our milestones and are actively identifying and developing functional parts for production.”
It is expected that the new ID.3 and many upcoming EV’s will need lightweighting to a significant extent to improve mileage and hence the use of 3D printed parts will gain importance.
The production of the ID.3 models marks the successful completion of the first step in Volkswagen’s strategic roadmap for Metal Jet production which involved mass customization and cosmetic parts. In the next stages, Volkswagen’s plan is to integrate Metal Jet printed structural parts into its next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible. The goal is to achieve a continuous increase in the size of the parts made and technical requirements. The long-term goal is production of higher performance functional parts which have significant structural requirements like mirror mounts and gearshift knobs. With demand for electric vehicles expected to increase, they will enter mass production, and HP Metal Jet is likely to be used for additional applications such as the lightweighting of fully safety-certified metal parts.
“A digital transformation in the auto industry is underway and Volkswagen is leading the way with strategic vision and bold action,” said Tim Weber, Global Head of Metals, HP 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing. “We are committed to delivering the capabilities our customers need to accelerate the design and production of high quality final parts with breakthrough economics. Together with Volkswagen and partners like GKN we are standing up the factories of the future.”
HP has teamed up with GKN Powder Metallurgy, one of the market leaders in production of metal parts, to deploy HP Metal Jet factories which will make functional metal parts for auto and industrial companies. The collaboration between Volkswagen, HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy means that they can to move quickly manufacture parts on a large scale.
In order to support the recent launch of the new Volkswagen ID.3, which is billed as the first fully electric production car with a CO2-neutral footprint, Volkswagen leveraged the rapid expansion of Metal Jet capacity at the GKN’s plants in Bad Langensalza and Radevormwald and at HP in Barcelona to make over 10,000 ID.3 models for the vehicle‘s massive marketing campaign. These models will be distributed to Volkswagen’s employees and car dealers across the globe.
“What better way to showcase the innovation of Volkswagen than to use our own technologies in the marketing campaign for the premiere ID.3 launch,” said Dr. Goede. “We are extremely pleased with the technical features and the speed, quality and low cost per part that HP Metal Jet has provided. The surface quality and feature resolution enabled great attention to detail and made it possible to add a special touch to this important company milestone.”
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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