Audi saves lead times on 50% by adopting Additive Manufacturing for prototyping

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In Ingolstadt, Germany, the Audi Pre-Series Center is to adopt Stratasys full-color, multi-material Additive Manufacturing for its product design process. According to Dr. Tim Spiering, Head of the Pre-Series Plastics 3D Printing Center at Audi,

“Using the J750for the prototyping of tail light covers, we will be able to accelerate our design verification process,”


Audi Additive Manufacturing

The automotive company made an early adoption of 3D printing technology and has been experimenting with Stratasys 3D printers since 2002. Nowadays, the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center is equipped with 10 polymer 3D printers including Stratasys FDM and PolyJet machines. (Find more info about FDM process) Audi also partnered with 3D printer manufacturer EOS and, in metal, the car company also gave an update on its longstanding collaboration with SLM Solutions.

The luxury icon

Along the time, Audi has become a household name in the luxury vehicle market for its slick designs, an aesthetic no less carried forward to the evolution of its tail lights. Dr. Spiering explains:

Evolution of Audi tail lights. Photos via Audi
Evolution of Audi tail lights. Photos: Audi

The goal of the Pre-Series Centre is to put all new component designs through rigorous testing before it makes it to the road model. Traditionally, new Audi tail lights would be produced using milling or injection molding. (Find more info about Additive Manufacturing technologies) To achieve the multicolor composition of the lights (often red and orange or red and white), milled and molded tail lights would have to be assembled from multiple parts. This is where get to the first advantages of selecting Additive Manufacturing instead.


The special tool for speeding cars to market

On the Stratasys J750, the Plastics 3D Printing Center team can make multicolor, multi-material tail lights in a single process, made of one whole part, saving crucial time and effort that has a knock-on effect when bringing a car to market.

Transparent red, and clear 3D printed Audi tail lights. Photo via Stratasys
Transparent red and clear 3D printed Audi tail lights. Photo: Stratasys

After a run of AM tail lights, Dr. Spiering states,

The Stratasys J750 3D Printer will offer us a significant advantage, as it allows us to print the exact textures and colors 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.”

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3D Printing Industry Beau Jackson Jun 7, 2018, Automotive Audi to save 50% on lead times by switching to 3D printing for prototyping, visited on Jun 9, 2018;

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