Stimulating Development with Stratasys 3D Printing
Real Challenge in Automotive Development
Manufacturing and assembling each of the components of a Koenigsegg car is very labour intensive as more than 300 carbonfibre parts make up each high-tech supercar. The best method of designing a new car is to test the parts virtually and as true-to-life prototypes. By testing throughout the development cycle, Koenigsegg’s designers can determine which designs yield the best possible results. The team of six starts the development process by designing each individual part on its CAD system. They then ‘print’ a high density plastic model of each component to carry out various testing scenarios. If changes to the part are required, they can be made manually and then scanned from the altered model component. This scan is then used to make a new CAD model, which can be printed again for further testing.
Previously, Koenigsegg outsourced the 3D printing of its prototypes to a service bureau. The cost and time savings, along with the accuracy and durability of prototypes and parts created with additive manufacturing allowed the manufacturer to design and create better production components, faster. As benefits of utilizing additive manufacturing over traditional processes became quite evident, finding many diverse uses for 3D printing and the intensive timeline for product development proved too intensive for outsourced 3D printing; the stop/start approach proved to be disruptive to the process, slowing the development of the car. Though outsourcing 3D printing accelerated product development, the process’ speed and efficiency was improved by bringing the same 3D printing technology in-house, in order to evaluate different versions of a design more quickly and effectively.
Real Solution: In-House 3D Printing
Koenigsegg realised that having a 3D printer onsite would speed up the prototyping process and therefore the development of its cars. After evaluating all printers available on the market and judging each one on performance, available materials, price and size, Koenigsegg purchased a Dimension SST 1200es printer. When asked about the merits of utilizing 3D Printing, Christian von Koenigsegg, founder and CEO at Koenigsegg Automotive AB, had high praise for the Stratasys machine.
“Dimension was an obvious choice for us as it not only allows us to modify and print prototypes quickly but also provides us with the option to use them as end use parts in our cars. Once the Dimension printer was up and running, our engineers started using the machine straight away. The benefits were clear immediately. The process of printing prototypes onsite and testing each component has sped up the development of the car design by an estimated 20%.”
The Dimension SST 1200es is now being used in-house for design prototyping of the supercars as first planned. The printer can be used by Koenigsegg for everything from creating models, to printing engine parts, to interior fixtures and other design elements. It is also frequently used for tooling, fixtures, and studies and on component mountability and serviceability, boasting several advantages over previous methods used in these applicaitons. A key benefit of the Dimension printer is that the prototype parts produced can also be used as working parts in the end product.
“Since purchasing the Dimension printer, the turnaround time for getting a component right in terms of design has decreased enormously, it now only takes a few days instead of a number of weeks. Our designers and engineers can quickly establish a part’s suitability for the supercar without stifling their creative flow.”
The Dimension 3D Printer has aided in the design several of Koenigsegg’s latest models, including the Agera. Furthermore, every engineer now has access to the printer, which has not only sped up the design process, but has allowed the design team to be more creative and push the boundaries of supercar development. For example, printing and testing prototypes for the air inlets assisted Koenigsegg’s engineers in developing a supercar with a staggering torque of 920nm reached at 5000rpm. Summing the overall impact of the Dimension 3D printer on their product development process, von Koenigsegg stated:
“Simply put, it saves time, money and allows us to work more freely.”
To see how 3D Printing by Stratasys can improve your workflow, and more, please visit us at www.cimetrixsolutions.com.
- Cimetrix Staff