Last year, as the foundation for its strategy to “industrialise additive manufacturing with a multi-year design and production road-map”, Volkswagen selected HP Metal Jet 3-D printing technology for the high-volume manufacturing of production-grade metal parts.
With a production run of more than 10,000 high-quality parts produced by HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy in just a few weeks (to support the ID.3 electric-vehicle launch event), Volkswagen reached a key milestone in the first stage of its “three-phase strategic road-map to functional production”.
Martin Goede, head of technology planning and development at Volkswagen, said: “Our vision to industrialise additive manufacturing is quickly becoming a reality with HP Metal Jet; it is a game changer for the automotive industry.
“The pace of innovation by HP and the advanced capabilities of the technology have exceeded our expectations. We are meeting our milestones, and we are actively identifying and developing functional parts for production.”
Dr Goede expands on the important milestone, plus the work Volkswagen and HP are doing together on the path to mass production, in the video below.
He went on to say that the production of the ID.3 models represents the successful execution of the first step of Volkswagen’s strategic road-map for Metal Jet production, beginning with mass customisation and cosmetic parts.
In subsequent phases, Volkswagen intends to integrate Metal Jet printed structural parts into the next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible, and it is targeting a continuous increase in part size and technical requirements. The goal is to produce parts such as gearshift knobs and mirror mounts in numbers of 50,000 to 100,000 per year.
Dr Goede added: “As new platforms such as electric vehicles enter mass production, HP Metal Jet is expected to be ‘leveraged’ for additional applications such as the lightweighting of fully safety-certified metal parts.”
To support the recent unveiling of the new Volkswagen ID.3, the company made use of the rapid expansion of Metal Jet capacity at the GKN factories in Bad Langensalza and Radevormwald (Germany), plus HP in Barcelona (Spain), to produce more than 10,000 ID.3 models for the vehicle’s marketing campaign.
Volkswagen intends to distribute the models to Volkswagen employees and car dealers around the world.