Volkswagen Autoeuropa: Maximizing Production Efficiency with 3D-Printed Tools

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Maximizing production efficiency with Ultimaker
Discover how high-quality 3D-printed tools, jigs, and fixtures save Volkswagen Autoeuropa an estimated €150,000 per year.

By 3D printing their tools, jigs, and fixtures, Volkswagen Autoeuropa slashed cycle time operation, reduced labor, and minimized material wastage. Tool ergonomics have been improved, there’s less need for reworking, and best of all, it’s all achieved at a tenth of the cost. The company is on track to save €150,000 by the end of 2017.

Before using Ultimaker’s 3D printers, Volkswagen Autoeuropa outsourced their custom tool manufacturing. This meant waiting for several weeks, especially when multiple designs or assemblies were required.
It also meant more paperwork, a haphazard ‘trial-and-error’ approach, plus more quotations – holding up the process at significant extra cost.

Key Benefits

Complete customization

Greater design flexibility means that even complex concepts can become a reality. Function and performance now drive your ideas, not cost or time.

Faster production

With their Ultimaker 3D printers, Volkswagen Autoeuropa’s tool development time is reduced by 95%. Solutions are tested without using 3rd party suppliers, and production times are cut by 8 weeks on average.

 

Unlimited revisions

It’s easy to verify function and design by 3D printing the part, then make new iterations within a few hours – with no cost penalties.

Reduced costs

You can test prototypes instead of redesigning, or altering an existing mold. Volkswagen Autoeuropa achieved a 91% cost reduction with their 3D printers.

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Improved ergonomics

Ultimaker’s 3D printers give you the flexibility needed for continuous improvement – ensuring the best possible ergonomics and quality. 3D-printed tools are visually pleasing, lightweight and machinable.

Better workflow

By using the 3D printers, shop floor operators become involved in the process and can offer invaluable input. Positioning 3D printers by the assembly line means operators can verify/review – swiftly and easily.

Cost Analysis

Wheel protection

Poka-Yoke

Used during the position and screw assembly to prevent scratches /damage to the wheels. Without this protection, scrap cost can be huge.

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers
Cost €800/part €21/part
Project 56 days 10 days

Triangular window gauge

Gauges

Achieves the best accuracy for rear quarter window positioning, ensuring a consistent finish.

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers
Cost €180/part €35/part
Project 8 days 6 days

Liftgate badge

Badges

Ensures the correct positioning of the 2.0 TDI emblem.

 

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers
Cost €400/part €10/part
Project 35 days 4 days

Ultimaker 3: Technical Specifications

 

Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3 Extended

Ultimaker 3 Extended

Printer and printing properties

Technology Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Print head Dual extrusion print head with a unique auto-nozzle lifting system and swappable print cores Dual extrusion print head with a unique auto-nozzle lifting system and swappable print cores
Build volume
  • Left nozzle: 215 x 215 x 200 mm
  • Right nozzle: 215 x 215 x 200 mm
  • Dual material: 197 x 215 x 200 mm
  • Left nozzle: 215 x 215 x 300 mm
  • Right nozzle: 215 x 215 x 300 mm
  • Dual material: 197 x 215 x 200 mm
Filament diameter 2.85 mm 2.85 mm
Layer resolution
  • 0.40 mm nozzle: 200 – 20 micron
  • 0.80 mm nozzle: 600 – 20 micron
  • 0.40 mm nozzle: 200 – 20 micron
  • 0.80 mm nozzle: 600 – 20 micron
XYZ accuracy 12.5, 12.5, 2.5 micron 12.5, 12.5, 2.5 micron
Print head travel speed 30 – 300 mm/s 30 – 300 mm/s
Build speed
  • 0.40 mm nozzle: up to 16 mm³/s
  • 0.80 mm nozzle: up to 24 mm³/s
  • 0.40 mm nozzle: up to 16 mm³/s
  • 0.80 mm nozzle: up to 24 mm³/s
Build plate Heated glass build plate Heated glass build plate
Build plate temperature 20 – 100 °C 20 – 100 °C
Build plate leveling Active leveling Active leveling
Supported materials Nylon, PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, TPU 95A, PP, PVA Nylon, PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, TPU 95A, PP, PVA
Nozzle diameter 0.40 mm, 0.80 mm 0.40 mm, 0.80 mm
Nozzle temperature 180 – 280 °C 180 – 280 °C
Nozzle heat up time < 2 min < 2 min
Build plate heat up time < 4 min (20 -> 60 °C) < 4 min (20 -> 60 °C)
Operating sound 50 dBA 50 dBA
Material recognition Material recognition with NFC scanner Material recognition with NFC scanner
Connectivity Wi-Fi, LAN, USB port Wi-Fi, LAN, USB port
Monitoring Live camera Live camera

Physical dimensions

Dimensions 342 x 380 x 389 mm 342 x 380 x 489 mm
Dimensions (with bowden tube and spool holder) 342 x 505 x 588 mm 342 x 505 x 688 mm
Net weight 10.6 kg 11.3 kg
Shipping weight 15.5 kg 16.8 kg
Shipping box dimensions 390 x 400 x 565 mm 390 x 400 x 680 mm

Power requirements

Input 100 – 240V 4A, 50-60Hz 221 W max. 100 – 240V 4A, 50-60Hz 221 W max.
Output 24 V DC, 9.2 A 24 V DC, 9.2 A

Ambient conditions

Operating ambient temperature 15 – 32 °C, 10 – 90% RH non condensing.
See material specifications for optimal conditions.
15 – 32 °C, 10 – 90% RH non condensing.
See material specifications for optimal conditions.
Nonoperating temperature 0 – 32 °C 0 – 32 °C

Software

Supplied software Cura, our free print preparation software Cura, our free print preparation software
Supported OS macOS, Windows and Linux macOS, Windows and Linux
Supported files
  • STL, OBJ and 3MF
  • G and GCODE
  • BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG
  • STL, OBJ and 3MF
  • G and GCODE
  • BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG

 

3D-Printed Assembly Portfolio by Volkswagen Autoeuropa