Since more than a decade, Audi is experimenting with 3D manufacturing. Today, in the automotive industry 3D manufacturing is widely used to create prototypes of car components and manufacturing tools. Especially in cases when the component geometry or assemblies are very complex, 3D printing enables the production of monolithic parts that would have to be joined in conventional manufacturing. In additive manufacturing (AM), the design determines the production; not the other way round.
In application of additive manufacturing, Audi is also focusing on the production of inserts for die casting molds and hot working segments. The company can positively influence the process of series production by conformal cooling, producing parts and vehicle components more cost-effectively. This is made possible by using complex, additively manufactured cooling channels, which are tailored to the component and could not be implemented by conventional means before. Specifically, the optimized cooling performance leads to a reduction of the cycle time by 20 % which has a positive effect on the energy consumption and cost efficiency of the components at the same time.