Audi expands AM polymer in automotive production

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Custom designed and locally printed, auxiliary tools from the 3D printer help employees on the production lines. A separate department will be responsible for implementation at the Neckarsulm site in the future.

The expert team at the startup/analysis center has already firmly established polymer 3D printing in the craft-scale R8 factory at the Bölllinger Höfe. They develop ideas for new or optimized tools in close collaboration with their colleagues on the production line. The team under project manager Waldemar Hirsch design the tools on site and print them on the 3D printer. During a one-week workshop last December, the expert team trialed the use of this fast, convenient service for volume production in the factory. They identified several hundred applications where printed auxiliary tools offer substantial savings potential.

By establishing a separate specialist department for 3D printing, we are professionalizing this already successful project. Even more employees will be able to benefit from the experienced expert team and the custom auxiliary tools in the future,”

-Helmut Stettner, Neckarsulm plant manager.

But Audi is also using the project to actively drive cultural change. The employees on the production line are directly involved in the development process for the 3D-printed tools.

Hirsch gives top priority to focus on the employees and their needs,

“Our goal is to provide our Audi colleagues the 3D-printed tool as quickly as possible, thus supporting them in their daily work.”

The process is another building block in the company’s digital transformation. For Audi, it marks an important step in the evolution of production into a modern smart factory. The use of futuristic technology enhances flexibility and efficiency in addition to enabling the products to be customized as suggested by the employees.

In conclusion, Helmut Stettner said that “The decision to establish the new department supports the creation of a cross-site network. Ultimately the entire Volkswagen Group will benefit from the expertise in Neckarsulm

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Volkswagen Audi expands polymer 3D printing in Production published on Apr8 and re-edited by João Andrade on Apr11, 2019;

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