VW begin using a 3D metal printer to print components
The new technology is part of VW's latest step in their current innovation push.
3D printing has seen major improvements in recent years. In today's world, you can find 3D printers in schools, businesses and even homes. Until recently, 3D printers predominantly used a plastic-like substance to build structures. VW recognise that despite the pandemic, they need to continue innovating in order to continue competing with other brands.
Their new system, in the making of which they partnered with Siemens AG, uses a metallic powder held together by adhesive to build complex designs layer by layer. VW hopes to use the machinery to produce components faster, more flexibly and using fewer resources. In their advance, VW are thought to have invested a sum around the mid-double-digit million euro mark over the past 5 years. In addition, the company also entered a software partnership with Siemens and expanded its partnership with the common-place printer manufacturer, HP Inc.
The companies soo hope to establish a joint team at the high-tech 3D printing centre in Wolfsburg to allow them to manufacture complex automotive parts from sheet steel. The aim of the three companies is to produce 100,000 components by 2025. The first components will be made using the adhesive binding process which uses a metallic powder and adhesive and are already being installed in the new VW T-Roc convertible's A-pillar. This has helped the A pillar to weigh just over half of what it did when made from sheet steel.
The new VW T-Roc Cabriolet which will now contain 3D printed metal components.
VW have already conducted crash tests on the new 3D-printed metallic vehicle components. In recent years, the use of 3D printing in the manufacture of components was deemed as cost-ineffective however they now recognise that new technology makes the production-line use of the complex machines commercially viable.