Audi widens use of 3D printing in production

April 11, 2019 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Audi widens use of 3D printing in production
Individually designed and locally printed, auxiliary tools from the 3D printer support the employees in the production lines at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant. In future, a dedicated department at the site will be responsible for implementation. For this purpose, the carmaker has set up its own team of experts.

In the production line for the Audi R8 sports car model, a team of experts from the Audi Centre for Series Production Run-Up has already established 3D printing with plastic material: In cooperation with the experts for volume production process planning, they develop ideas for new or optimized working aids that can be produced using additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing). The team designs the auxiliary tools on site and prints them out with the 3D printer. Past December, the team of experts already tested this quick and uncomplicated service in a workshop at the plant for large-scale production. They developed several hundred applications with considerable savings potential through printed auxiliary tools.

"By establishing a dedicated department for 3D printing, we are professionalising the already successfully running project. In the future, even more employees will be able to benefit from the experienced team of experts and the individual auxiliary tools," explains Helmut Stettner, plant manager at Neckarsulm. The employees on the production line are directly involved in the development process of the 3D printing aids.

Audi regards the process as a building block in the company's digital transformation and in the transformation of production into a modern Smart Factory. The use of additive manufacturing increases flexibility, efficiency and enables products to be customized.


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