3D printing is becoming one of the largest new industries in the world, as the technology expands at a rapid rate. While it was first mostly used to create small objects out of plastic, 3D printing is now being used to create metal objects and even tools, things that would otherwise be incredibly difficult to make using tradition manufacturing processes. So Audi is partnering with Additive Minds to help it develop new 3D printing technologies to help its brand.
“The aim is to not only supply Audi with the right additive systems and processes but to also support them during applications development, when building up internal AM knowledge and training their engineers to become in-house AM experts.” said Güngör Kara, Director of Global Application and Consulting at EOS (parent company of Additive Minds).
Audi wants to use 3D printing to help it develop new, highly specialized tools, designed for very specific purposes. While this would be extremely difficult and expensive, 3D printing them would not only cut costs dramatically but decreased production time significantly as well, making custom tools a far more viable option in the future.
“With this technology we are able to integrate internal structures and functions in tools that we have not been able to create so far with conventional manufacturing methods.” said Jörg Spindler, Audi’s Head of Toolmaking. “Especially with components in small batches, we can now produce components using lightweight construction, quickly and economically based on this technology.”
Optimizing 3D printing technology, especially cooling, will help the production process immensely and make 3D printing a far more accessible technology for Audi. EOS and Additive Minds will help Audi in this process and could reduce production time by 20 percent. With technology increasing and expanding at an explosive rate, Audi needs to be able to create tools to help develop these new technologies and 3D printing will be a large part of that process in the future.