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Japanese Automaker Daihatsu Collaborates With Designers to Offer 3D Printed Customised Car Design

Stratasys says automaker Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd, (Daihatsu) is one of the first manufacturers to deliver on the 3D printing vision of mass customization of end-use parts, collaborating with Stratasys and top local designers.

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 customization of consumer products. Based in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan, Daihatsu partnered with 3D printing solutions company Stratasys, Kota Nezu from industrial design company Znug Design, Inc. and 3D creator Sun Junjie to turn the vision into reality. Designers created 15 “Effect Skins” – intricate geometric and organic patterns in 10 different colors that are 3D printed using Stratasys Fortus 3D printers. Customers can adjust the parameters of the designs themselves, exponentially increasing the numbers of options and allowing “one-off” customization for each consumer.

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The Effect Skins are 3D printed on Fortus® Production 3D Printers from Stratasys using ASA thermoplastic which is very durable, UV resistant and aesthetic. “What would have taken two to three months to develop can now be produced in two weeks,” says Mr. 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 customizability and rich design properties. “This project would not have been possible with traditional manufacturing or tooling methods,” explains Mr. 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 commercialization in early 2017.