Dec 11, 2018 | By Thomas

German automaker Volkswagen's toolmaking unit has just announced that it is opening an advanced 3D printing centre at the company’s main production facility in Wolfsburg which will allow the production of complex vehicle parts. The unit will use “the most highly advanced generation of 3D printers” developed in cooperation with HP.

"The 3D printing centre takes VW's additive manufacturing activities to a new level," Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Volkswagen brand production chief, commented during the opening ceremony.

"In two to three years' time, three-dimensional printing will also become interesting for the first production parts. In the future, we may be able to use 3D printers directly on the production line for vehicle production."

The 3D printers developed in cooperation with HP is based on the binder jetting process, which supplements the previous selective laser melting (SLM) process. HP's binder jetting makes metallic 3D printing considerably easier and faster compared to other metals 3D printing solutions. In this process, components are manufactured using a metal powder and a binder applied in layers. The metal part which has been printed is then 'baked' in a sintering process.

Volkswagen is currently using the technology for customizable components like individualized key rings and exterior-mounted name plates. Volkswagen‘s multi-year plan to use HP's binder jetting to produce higher performance functional parts with significant structural requirements.

Volkswagen's 3D printing center has a floor space of 3,100 sq m. A team of planners and researchers is now work on the development of new products and processes. Within the framework of the pact for the future, a new additive manufacturing unit providing 11 future-oriented jobs has been established.

At the opening ceremony, the Head of Additive Manufacturing, Oliver Pohl, commented: “Here, we have created an innovative center which will be of tremendous strategic importance for Volkswagen in the future.”

"The inauguration of the 3D printing center underlines the importance of Innovation Fund II, which makes investments like this possible," said Works Council member Susanne Preuk. "The Works Council welcomes the fact that the company is opening up to new technologies and shaping them in a future-oriented way in the interest of the employees."



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Weekend Warrior wrote at 12/13/2018 4:37:47 PM:

The HP metal is and will be fast, but the 'old' technology (sintering) dictates it's main use: only medium to small parts. This is the laws of physics. Same goes for Desktop Metal, Markforged etc. Sintering=small parts only.

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