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.”