While 3D printing has found a place in nearly every industry and business niche today, some of its uses are making more headway than others, such as the innovations springing from the automotive industry. And in fact, numerous automobile manufacturers have been using 3D printing since long before the mainstream population knew anything about it. We’ve seen BMW using the technology for some very unique uses, along with Rolls Royce designers, and other big fans of 3D printing like Ford Motor Company, which has been collaborating on new systems. Companies like Local Motors have arrived on the scene as some of the first to offer cars with bodies that are fully 3D printed.
Now, making use of the six Stratasys 3D printers they have on site between their Milan and Turin, Italy headquarters, Skorpion Engineering is able to produce auto prototypes 50 percent faster than they could have with previous methods. Currently they are producing a range of prototypes for parts, to include items like seat frames and even door handles. With the PolyJet 3D printers, they enjoy the benefit of on-demand production, and can have prototypes ready within 24 hours.
“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,” said Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Materials Business Unit, Stratasys.
Their new techniques have increased business as customers enjoy much improved prototypes, and much shorter deadlines. As an example, for one project, the Skorpion team made a full-sized bumper for a car. With the Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, they were able to make the part exponentially faster (previously, the prototype would have been made from clay).
“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,” said Italo Moriggi, General Manager, Skorpion Engineering.
The customers also appreciate one of the other great benefits of 3D printed prototypes: the parts are so much lighter—and especially in comparison to clay.
“Crucially, this ability to produce fully-functional parts with improved performance allows our customers to undergo aesthetic and functionality verification significantly faster. This directly enhances their overall production cycle and helps accelerate their time-to-market,” said Moriggi.
They were also able to print a vehicle dashboard at rapid speed, using the Objet350 Connex3 3D Printer. With its advanced capabilities, the team was also able to create different textures at the same time.
“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. In fact, our goal is to utilize additive manufacturing to realize the production of a fully-functional concept car within the next five years.”
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