Volkswagen, one of the world’s most iconic automotive manufacturers and the largest car manufacturer globally, has invested in the world’s only full color, multi-material 3D printing technology from Stratasys to enhance its prototyping capabilities and open up new opportunities within automotive design. Following the installation of two PolyJet Technology-based Stratasys J850 3D Printers, the Volkswagen Pre-Series-Center is 3D printing a wide range of ultra-realistic prototypes for both interior and exterior applications – helping the company to drive further innovation within new vehicle design.
According to the company, this latest investment allows the design team to meet Volkswagen’s stringent quality requirements, with the capability to now create complex multi-material prototypes that mirror final production parts with up to 99% precision. This level of realism will enable the team to better test and improve overall part designs.
The J850 provides Volkswagen the unique ability to produce full-color prototypes in up to seven different materials varying in rigidity, flexibility, opaqueness, and transparency – all in a single print. This saves significant time and costs over traditional multi-step design processes, such as part assembly and painting.
For vehicle interiors, the Volkswagen Pre-Series-Center team is also 3D printing parts with different textured surfaces – from fabric and leather to wood. Furthermore, the use of an advanced transparent material called VeroUltraClear allows the team to replicate the clarity of glass. The ability to simulate these vehicle features with true-to-life models gives designers the creative freedom to test and perfect new designs quickly and cost-effectively.