Deploying the EOS M 400 system, Audi produces 12 segments of four tools for hot forming, with plans for ‘significantly more’ segments to be printed this way, and uses them in its press shop to make body panels for the Audi A4 and other models. The automotive company is also planning to do the same for future electric vehicles.
Audi and EOS have a longstanding relationship, with the 3D printing company providing its 3D printing support, know-how and technology to the Ingolstadt plant before, during and after the facility was constructed in 2016. In the years since, Audi is said to have made ‘steady progress’ with its implementation of 3D printing and in the production of tool segments for hot forming believes it has established ‘an ideal application.’
With the help of these 3D printed tools, Audi has manufactured several hundred thousand parts which have been installed on selected car models. The partners believe the shift of Audi’s tool segment production from conventional technologies to additive processes highlights the ‘quality and reliability’ of 3D printing, and suggests it is an important step for the technology.
“From initial qualification by EOS to internal further development and refinement of the entire process chain through to standardisation of a new production method, we are now reaping the fruits of years of development within Audi’s production organisation,” commented Matthias Herker, Technical Project Manager at the Audi Metal 3D Printing Centre. “Whenever conventional manufacturing methods reach their limit, we use additive manufacturing – which lets us meet quality standards and comply with production times.”
Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS, added: “The latest examples show that 3D printing has become an established part of operating materials production at Audi. We’re especially proud that the tool segments made using AM are created exclusively using an industrial 3D printer from EOS. Audi is a partner we can work with to continue to drive the use of AM in automotive production – a key industry for us.”
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