Recent Advances at Audi in the Use of Additive Manufacturing

3D printing is massively on the rise and this is especially the case within the Automotive sector. Most of the manufacturers tend to keep quiet about technological advances to keep one step ahead of the competition but Audi have been a little more vocal than most. In this article we explore some of Audi’s use of Additive Manufacturing (AM)/3D printing which whilst at a research and prototyping level is still a very interesting use of the technology.

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Audi made the RSQ with rapid prototyping techniques

AM is primarily being used in design and prototyping right now (especially for trim and air vents), here is how Audi are using AM:

  • Rapid prototyping – As you’d expect with rapid prototyping this enables Audi to take ideas created on paper and quickly convert them to 3D models and prototypes. 3D printers allow Audi to experiment with complex designs and shapes that would be to challenging to attempt using traditional techniques.
  • Tool making – Audi use AM actively to make a range of tools which are used in the manufacturing process. Tool making is a major area of additive manufacturing growth

AM is not yet used in the actual production of Audi vehicles but this is planned for the near future. Audi are just beginning their use of AM and the future looks exciting, especially in the production of larger parts. Audi see a primary benefit of AM to be the manufacturing of parts and components much faster and much more cost-effectively.

Audi creates replica of 1936 grand prix car

As a part of their R&D and also for a WOW factor and for fun, Audi have created a half sized metal replica of the 1936 Auto Union Type C grand prix car. Lessons learned from this exercise, which used the metal selective laser sintering process are all ploughed back into actual R&D for the Audi product range.

Audi’s replica of the 1936 Auto Union Type C grand prix car

Audi’s replica of the 1936 Auto Union Type C grand prix car

Audi Video

To learn more about how Audi is using 3D printing techniques checkout this video – “How Audi is Using 3D Printing in Car Manufacturing “ – Available at https://youtu.be/_XGHhMDKj7A

Additional reading

If you have found this article to be of interest also be sure to read our special case study article – “Additive Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry”. Also don’t hesitate to contact us here at SPI Lasers to discuss how our lasers can help improve the productivity of your metal 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes.

 

Image Credits: Andre Taris and Qubiq Metalworks

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