Home Applications & Case Studies Toyota Teams Up with Materialise to 3D Print Lightweight Car Seats

Toyota Teams Up with Materialise to 3D Print Lightweight Car Seats

The Japanese automotive manufacturer has teamed up with 3D printing and software company Materialise to create a prototype of a 3D printed car seat.

With their mission to produce a lightweight car seat prototype with minimal volume and optimal heat capacity, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. turned to Belgium-based 3D printing expert Materialise.

With a special type of topology optimisation used by Toyota, specific regions were assigned with either high or low density areas. This data was then transformed into a 3D model using Materialise’s Mimics software along with 3-matic STL.

However, the challenge was not only to create such a complex model, but also to manipulate and handle the immense data. Using the Build Processor’s slice technology, the 3D geometry was applied at the slice level instead of at the STL level and all information about structures and textures was saved as metadata.

“The Build Processor’s slice-based technology was simply the only way to keep the files light, by postponing the calculations of the full design until the slicing step. The estimated STL file size was 250 GB, while the file size of the metadata was only 36 MB.”

Materialise used Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology to then 3D print the prototype’s final design. The volume of the 3D printed car seat was reduced by 72%, representing a reduction in weight from 25 kg to only 7 kg.


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