Volkswagen on its way to mass production with HP Metal Jet

 Volkswagen on its way to mass production with HP Metal Jet
HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy produced 10,000 promotional model vehicles (above) for Volkswagen’s ID.3 launch event (Courtesy HP Inc.)

In 2018, Volkswagen Group selected the HP Metal Jet as the
foundation for its strategy to industrialise Additive Manufacturing as part of
a multi-year design and production roadmap. Working with HP Inc. and GKN Powder
Metallurgy, it has now reached a key milestone in the first stage on its
route to functional production.

To support VW’s ID.3 electric vehicle launch event, a
production run of 10,000 promotional model vehicles has been completed by HP
and GKN using the HP Metal Jet system, over the course of a few weeks.
Volkswagen reported that this latest production run marks a significant step in
its three-phase strategic roadmap. 

Dr Martin Goede, VW’s Head of Technology Planning and
Development, stated, “Our vision to industrialise Additive Manufacturing is
quickly becoming a reality with HP Metal Jet, it is a game changer for the
automotive industry. The pace of innovation by HP and advanced capabiltiies of
the technology have exceeded our expectations. We are meeting our milestones
and are actively identifying and developing functional parts for production.”

Dr Goede expands on the work Volkswagen and HP are doing
to bring AM to mass production (Courtesy HP Inc.)

VW’s strategic roadmap for Metal Jet production begins with
mass customisation and cosmetic parts. In subsequent phases of its plan, VW
intends to integrate structural parts produced on the HP Metal Jet into the
next generation of vehicles, and is targeting a continuous increase in part
size and technical requirements – with the future goal of producing
soccer-ball-sized parts in runs of 50,000 to 100,000 parts per year. 

Examples of higher performance functional parts with
significant structural requirements include gearshift knobs and mirror mounts.
As new platforms such as electric vehicles enter mass production, the HP Metal
Jet is expected to be employed for additional applications such as the
lightweighting of fully safety-certified metal parts.

“A digital transformation in the auto industry is underway
and Volkswagen is leading the way with strategic vision and bold action,”
commented Tim Weber, Global Head of Metals, HP 3D Printing and Digital
Manufacturing. “We are committed to delivering the capabilities our customers
need to accelerate the design and production of high-quality final parts with
breakthrough economics. Together with Volkswagen and partners like GKN, we are
standing up the factories of the future.” 

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