3D printing as a technology has been around for decades now but has usually been confined to the realms of visual models, form/fit testing, and rough prototypes. It’s only been in the last few years that machine - and especially materials - development has allowed for the production of functional, end-use parts. This has opened up 3D printing to a huge range of new applications within industry. The article below describes how Lamborghini has made use of Carbon technology to print end-use fuel caps for their Urus model vehicle. Applications like these are just the beginning with printed parts strength, surface finish and ease of production improving all the time.
Carbon will be 3D printing parts for the luxury brand Lamborghini. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 Urus Super SUVs are produced each year, and these will feature two 3D printed components.
The 3D printing unicorn’s additive manufacturing technology will be used to make a textured fuel cap with the Urus label and a clip component for an air duct. Interestingly Carbon tell us that no further post-processing is required and “the fuel cover gets screwed into the rest of the assembly following the print.”
Designing on the means of production
Stefan Gramse, Chief Procurement Officer of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A said, “Through our extensive procurement research, we found that many of our vehicle components were ideal candidates for digital manufacturing,”
“BY PARTNERING WITH CARBON, WE ARE DESIGNING ON THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, WHICH ALLOWS US TO PRODUCE MORE DURABLE PRODUCTS SMARTER, FASTER, AND MORE EFFICIENTLY, WHILE ALSO SUBSTANTIALLY ACCELERATING OUR TIME TO MARKET. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO A SUSTAINABLE, SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH CARBON.”
Carbon has not confirmed how many 3D printers Lamborghini will acquire, and does not disclose the location of where manufacturing will take place. However, while the initial production volume of parts appears small there are plans to increase the use of 3D printing at the automotive manufacturer.
Future 3D printing plans at Volkswagen
The Lamborghini brand, together with other famous names like Porsche and Ducati, is owned by Volkswagen. As previously reported the German parent company is no stranger to additive manufacturing. At Volkswagen’s Autoeuropa plant, Ultimaker 3D printersare used to save the business an estimated $250,000 annually.
Nikolai Reimer, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, of Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Lab, explains that the company is currently “redesigning many of the parts in its vehicle interior, mirror assembly, and accessory components to produce light-weight, durable, end-use parts.” Materials such as Carbon’s durable Epoxy (EPX) 82 material are likely to be beneficial for such applications.
Dr. Joseph DeSimone, CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon said of the partnership, “The automotive industry shows significant promise for using digital fabrication for production at scale, and our partnership with Lamborghini is a perfect example of the kind of innovation you can achieve when you fuse design, manufacturability and engineering all into one.”
While the $200,000 Urus remains out of reach for the majority of the world, 3D printing is increasingly found in more affordable products. You can read more about these consumer applications of 3D printing here.