Unique, one-off de­signer bumpers printed in 3D with durable plas­tic

The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY -

IN the last three years, 3D print­ing has ex­panded from pro­to­typ­ing to fac­tory tool­ing to short run pro­duc­tion, with the ex­pec­ta­tion that it would be used also for mass cus­tomi­sa­tion of con­sumer prod­ucts.

Based in Ikeda, Osaka, Ja­pan, Dai­hatsu has part­nered with 3D print­ing so­lu­tions com­pany Strata­sys, Kota Nezu from in­dus­trial de­sign com­pany Znug De­sign and 3D cre­ator Sun Jun­jie to turn the vi­sion into re­al­ity.

The de­sign­ers 3D print with ASA ther­mo­plas­tic, which is very durable, UV re­sis­tant and aes­thetic, to cre­ate 15 “Ef­fect Skins” — in­tri­cate geo­met­ric and or­ganic pat­terns in 10 dif­fer­ent colours.

Cus­tomers can ad­just the pa­ram­e­ters of the de­signs them­selves, ex­po­nen­tially in­creas­ing the num­bers of op­tions and al­low­ing “one-off” cus­tomi­sa­tion for each con­sumer.

The skins may be or­dered for front and rear bumpers and fend­ers.

“What would have taken two to three months to de­velop can now be pro­duced in two weeks,” says Osamu Fu­jishita, gen­eral man­ager, Cor­po­rate Plan­ning De­part­ment, Brand DNA Of­fice, Dai­hatsu Mo­tor Co., Ltd.

The tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing method of re­duc­ing costs is mass pro­duc­tion of iden­ti­cal parts to take ad­van­tage of economies of scale. But this Ef­fect Skins project il­lus­trates the power of 3D print­ing when it comes to cre­at­ing on-de­mand prod­uct parts with high cus­tomis­abil­ity and rich de­sign prop­er­ties.

“This project would not have been pos­si­ble with tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing or tool­ing meth­ods,” ex­plains Kota Nezu, Znug De­sign.

“We be­lieve on-de­mand pro­duc­tion [with 3D print­ing] of­fers def­i­nite ben­e­fits to sup­ply chain ef­fi­cien­cies,” adds Osamu Fu­jishita. “And it al­lows easy ac­cess for cus­tomers.”

The Ef­fect Skin project is be­ing tested in 2016 in se­lect mar­kets with plans for com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion in early 2017.

— Wheels Re­porter.

PHOTO: STRATA­SYS

Driv­ers will be able to de­sign their own geo­met­ric and or­ganic pat­terns for the Ef­fect Skins, like this one.

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