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3D printing accelerates development of luxury car prototype parts by 50%
Ability to respond to customer demands within 24-hours streamlines supply chain efficiency, optimizing production time and accelerating time-to-market
November 22, 2017
3 Min Read
Additive technology provider Stratasys Ltd. has delivered the tools to specialist automotive service bureau Skorpion Engineering enabling it to produce complex automotive prototypes 50% faster than would be achievable through traditional methods employing clay.
With offices in Milan and Turin, Italy, Skorpion deploys its arsenal of six Stratasys 3D printers to fulfil a vast gamut of both exterior and interior automotive prototypes – from door handles to full-size seat frames. More specifically, using its FDM 3D printers, Skorpion Engineering can respond to customer requests within 24-hours while its PolyJet 3D printers are driving greater part complexity and precision compared to traditional prototypes.
According to Italo Moriggi, General Manager, Skorpion Engineering, the company witnessed a surge in business as customer requirements shifted from rudimentary clay models to high-performance prototypes, with shorter deadlines.
With the ability to combine contrasting material characteristics, Skorpion Engineering can optimize parts and indicate how customers can overcome engineering challenges. (Photo: Business Wire)
Utilizing its Stratasys 3D Printers, Skorpion Engineering can provide customers with high-endurance prototypes 50% faster compared to traditional methods while offering improved part performance. (Photo: Business Wire)
This is exemplified by a recent project which saw the company produce a full-sized car bumper. Utilizing the large build tray of its Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, Skorpion Engineering produced the part 50% faster compared to the time it would have taken to make the bumper from clay. Moriggi explains: “In the context of the end-to-end manufacturing workflow, the level of time-saving enjoyed with 3D printing isn’t merely improvement or progression – it’s transformational. In fact, with 3D printing we can send prototypes to our customers the very next day.”
According to Moriggi, beyond the incredible time-savings, the ability to replace heavy clay prototypes with lightweight yet robust FDM materials, is integral to providing customers with improved part aerodynamics while offering the same mechanical characteristics as the final component.
“Crucially, this ability to produce fully-functional parts with improved performance allows our customers to carry out aesthetic and functionality verification significantly faster. This directly enhances their overall production cycle and helps accelerate their time-to-market,” he adds.
When it comes to customized, precise prototypes, the company calls upon its haul of PolyJet 3D printers. A recent project saw the company deploy its Objet350 Connex3 3D Printer to simultaneously combine varying textures of rigid and soft material to produce a highly-accurate vehicle dashboard in one print.
“The ability to combine contrasting material characteristics permits us to optimize parts and indicate how our customers can save both time and capital by overcoming engineering challenges early in the design phase. In terms of the dashboard, we could deliver this to our customer 50% faster compared to traditional methods,” explains Moriggi.
“As we continue to push the prototyping capabilities of our 3D printers, we are discovering the wider manufacturing potential they possess,” he adds. “In fact, our goal is to utilize additive manufacturing to realize the production of a fully-functional concept car within the next five years.”
Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Materials Business Unit, Stratasys concludes, “Skorpion Engineering is the perfect example of how a number of future-ready companies are not merely exploring the use of our complete 3D printing solutions to solve traditional prototyping challenges but are discovering the unparalleled capabilities for the manufacture of final parts. This demonstrates how Stratasys applies purposeful innovation to customers’ goals and aspirations.”
About the Author(s)
Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.
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