Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

Volkswagen development teams invest big in colour 3D Printing

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Volkswagen has spoken about its latest purchase of two colour 3D printing systems for its design and engineering teams working on the next generation of its vehicle interiors and key exterior aspects such as headlights.

The automotive giant has invested in two Stratasys J850 multi-material 3D printers to enhance its prototyping capabilities and open up new opportunities within its automotive design teams.

While Volkswagen has invested in a wide variety of 3D printing technologies for over 25 years, these new J850 3D printers will be installed at the Volkswagen Pre-Series-Center, focussed on producing a wide range of ultra-realistic prototypes for both interior and exterior applications.

According to Volkswagen, this latest investment allows its design team to meet stringent quality requirements, with the capability to now create complex multi-material prototypes that mirror final production parts ‘with up to 99 per cent precision’.

Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line
Volkswagen aims to use the J850 multi-material 3D printing technology to produce prototypes for elements like car headlamps, utilising the ability to print in clear materials

This level of realism aims to let the team better test and improve overall part designs.

The J850 can produce full-colour prototypes in up to 7 different materials, varying in rigidity, flexibility, opaqueness, and transparency – all in a single print.

For vehicle interiors, the Volkswagen Pre-Series-Center team is also 3D printing parts with different textured surfaces – including fabric, leather to wood. Furthermore, the use of transparent material VeroUltraClear allows the team to replicate the clarity of glass.

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The ability to simulate these vehicle features with accurate models gives Volkswagen’s designers the creative freedom to test and perfect new designs quickly and more cost-effectively than traditional processes.

“Volkswagen has always put innovation at the heart of everything it does, in order to develop vehicles that excite our customers and make them proud to own,” said head of the Volkswagen Pre-Series-Center, Peter Bartels.

“To achieve this, it is essential we provide our design teams with the latest cutting-edge technologies to unleash their creativity and enable them to set the standard in automotive design.

“The recent addition of the J850 3D Printers offers us additional capabilities that strengthen our 3D printing operations and allow us to further optimise our design process.”

Stratasys recently announced a new partnership with visualisation software KeyShot, that allows users to export the geometry, colours, and textures direct as a 3MF file to be printer on its polyjet colour 3D printing systems. Read more about that here.