Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

Before working with Ultimaker, Volkswagen Autoeuropa used third-party suppliers to manufacture their custom tools and prototypes. The process took several weeks, especially when multiple designs or assemblies were required. It also meant more paperwork, quotations, and the adoption of a trial-and-error approach, all of which were holding up the tool manufacturing process – at additional cost.

Solution

Solution

After validating the concept in 2014, Volkswagen Autoeuropa now has 7 Ultimaker 3D printers in operation, with 93% of manufactured tools previously made externally now created in-house. Within 2 years, their assembly-tooling cost savings rose – from 70% to 95%. Ultimaker enabled Volkswagen Autoeuropa to test solutions without having to contact suppliers, reducing the time taken by an average of 8 weeks.

Cost comparison

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Cost per part €800 Cost per part €21
Project duration 56 days Project duration 10 days

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

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Cost per part €180 Cost per part €35
Project duration 8 days Project duration 6 days

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

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Cost per part €400 Cost per part €10
Project duration 35 days Project duration 4 days

Ensures the correct positioning of the 2.0 TDI emblem, repeatedly and efficiently.

Results

Complete customization

Complete customization

A previously impractical jig or fixture design is now a viable option; function and performance become the main drivers of design, not cost or time. 3D printed tools are ergonomically pleasing, machinable, and lightweight.

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Accelerated delivery

Accelerated delivery

Printing parts on-demand in-house accelerates the build and delivery process, resulting in faster implementation. Using their Ultimaker 3D printers, Volkswagen Autoeuropa reduced tool development time by 95%.

Learn more about 3D printed tools
Unlimited revisions

Unlimited revisions

Ultimaker provides the flexibility and autonomy for continuous improvement. The function and design can be verified by printing the actual part, and new iterations can be made within a few hours, with no cost penalties.

3D printing for functional prototyping
Cost-effectiveness

Cost-effectiveness

By 3D printing prototypes in-house, Volkswagen Autoeuropa achieved a 91% cost reduction when compared to working with external suppliers (approximately €150,000 in 2016 with a target to save €325,000 in 2017).

3D printing end-use parts

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