German automotive giant Audi AG has adopted full colour Stratasys 3D printers, with which it expects significant reduction in prototyping lead times for tail light covers.
In a 7 June press release, 3D printing solutions supplier Stratasys said that the Audi Pre-Series Center with its Plastics 3D Printing Center in Ingolstadt, Germany, will be using the full-colour, multi-material 3D printer – the Stratasys J750 – to innovate its design process and accelerate design verification.
Audi Pre-Series Center is in charge of building physical models and prototypes for any brand, before a new vehicle goes into production, to evaluate new designs and concepts thoroughly.
The use of 3D printers has helped increase speed by removing traditional methods of prototyping, such as moulding and milling, to create and replicate new designs.
In the case of tail light covers, said Stratasys, the team traditionally used milling or moulding to produce individual parts.
The main challenge with these production techniques are the multi-coloured covers of the tail light housing.
The individual colour parts must be assembled, as they cannot be produced in one-piece, making it a time-intensive process.
Stratasys, however, claims that the J750 solution, will enable production of “entirely transparent, multi-coloured tail light covers in a single print, eliminating the need for its previous multi-step process”. This, it said, will reduce prototyping lead times by up to 50%.
The machine offers over 500,000 colour combinations, allowing for multiple colours and textures.
“We need prototypes to have exact part geometries, no distortion and extremely high quality, as well as true-to-part colour and transparency,” explained Tim Spiering, head of the Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center.
The Stratasys J750 3D Printer, he added, will offer “a significant advantage”, as it allows for printing the exact textures and colours defined by the design.