Peugeot’s car accessories will advance to new heights now that the French car brand is leveraging the technology, as well as a brand new flexible polymer, to offer customers a range of accessories for its new 308 compact hatchback. Described as “innovative, modern, technical and revolutionary,” the latest accessories for Peugeot’s 308 result from a joint effort between Peugeot, HP, high-performance coatings and composites developer Mäder, and the additive manufacturing specialists at ERPRO.
The result is a series of specialized accessories, including a sunglass holder, a can holder, and a phone or cardholder explicitly created for the new Peugeot 308. Made using the latest HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology, the products are not just innovative but also “pleasant to the touch, light, solid and easy to use.” According to the brand, they go a long way in enhancing the car’s interior, which showcases a new generation of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit––a patented new design that revolutionizes the driver’s cockpit through advanced ergonomics, head-up digital instrument displays, and interactive touchscreen technology.
According to the brand, this is just one of the first 3D printing used at Peugeot, as the company plans to continue implementing it for more technical parts in future car models. Moreover, as part of the PSA Group, which recently merged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to create Stellantis, Peugeot is now a sister company to 13 other car manufacturers, including Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, so looking at the bigger picture, we can imagine that the use of additive manufacturing will trickle down to the other brands under the Stellantis umbrella.
For the new car’s 3D printed accessories, Peugeot’s Design, Product, and Research and Development teams designed them after a detailed analysis of how customers use storage in the car. As traditional materials did not meet the specifications, the Colours and Materials team within Peugeot’s design department worked with its partners to develop a more innovative material to suit this purpose and decided that 3D printing was the best solution for the task.
According to the automaker, additive manufacturing adapts to the needs of an increasingly demanding and unpredictable market, helping create customized objects and accessories without needing expensive molds and manufacturing tools. Another great advantage of the technology that the team considered is its sustainability.
Once 3D printing was chosen as the manufacturing technology, the teams decided to use a new flexible, malleable, and robust polymer. For this project, they went with the multi-purpose thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powder Ultrasint, developed by HP and BASF, which gives manufacturers the ability to customize plastic parts. TPU has very high process stability and is one of the highest throughputs for flexible materials in the 3D printing market, making it perfect for serial production with HP Jet Fusion 3D printers. Furthermore, the manufacturing process is short, can be made to measure, and the result is an accessory with highly accurate details thanks to very fine molecules.
When the build is complete, the entire powder bed with the encapsulated parts is sent to a processing station where most of the remaining powder is removed by vacuum suction. The parts are then sandblasted to remove the powder residue before going to the finishing department, where they are painted to improve aesthetics. According to ERPRO’s Director, Cyrille Vue, it took the team two years to finish developing the accessories and qualifying them. Still, the result is what he described as an “incredible range of 3D printed accessories that we are going to produce in series and using additive manufacturing.”
Sleek and innovative, the resulting 3D printed accessories are available in two colors, black, and mint green, at the Peugeot Lifestyle shop. For example, the 3D printed telephone holder is sold for €49.20 ($54) and allows drivers to place phones or cards down in the 308s automatic gearbox. Similarly, the cup holder half module lets passengers set their cans or cups and is sold for €33 ($36.25).
Boasting a lot of firsts, the brand was among the first companies to use HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to develop a range of vehicle accessories. Furthermore, the use of TPU in a car interior is an entirely new approach, which Stellantis has now patented.
So far, other vehicle manufacturers have released CAD files to help users 3D print add-ons compatible with their cars. For example, in February 2022, Ford released files to 3D print accessories for its new 2022 Maverick truck, such as for the storage area under the rear seats and its slotted accessories called the Ford Integrated Tether System (FITS). Previously, Mini Cooper also offered owners of its Cooper hardtops and convertibles the ability to customize their vehicles as an aftermarket service utilizing 3D printing technology.
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