Leading German automotive company, Audi has announced their adoption of Stratasys J750, the world’s only full-color, multi-material 3D printer for the production of tail light covers in automobiles.
With the implementation of the J750 full-color 3D printer, Audi is expecting a drastic reduction of prototyping lead times by up to 50 percent and make the design verification process much shorter.
Before producing a new vehicle, physical models and prototypes are built to evaluate new designs and concepts thoroughly. Traditional milling and molding are commonly used for the production of tail light covers, but this presents a challenge since multi-colored individual parts of the housing have to be assembled and cannot be produced in one piece.
But with the deployment of the J750 3D printer at the Audi Pre-Series Center in Ingolstadt, the company can now 3D print multi-colored, transparent parts in one piece in a single print and overcome the limitations of conventional processes.
With over 500,000 color combinations to choose from, parts can be produced in exact multiple colors and textures that meet the stringent requirements of the Audi design approval process.
In terms of 3D printing transparent parts, there’s no comparable technology at the moment that can meet the standards desired by Audi and their customers. In a fast-moving automotive industry, this gives Audi a competitive edge against competitors in terms of development and time to market.
If the time-savings achieved by Audi on the tail lights are extended to other automotive parts, the overall impact on time-to-market will be really significant. Similarly, this vast 3D printing potential can be extended to other manufacturing industries and create more innovative 3D printing applications.
Audi acquired their first Stratasys FDM 3D Printer in 2002, and their portfolio housed at the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center now includes ten polymer 3D printers, which utilize FDM and PolyJet technologies.