Home Applications & Case Studies UltiMaker and Audi cooperate for efficient production through design automation

UltiMaker and Audi cooperate for efficient production through design automation

Audi Sport Böllinger Höfe in Heilbronn has significantly optimized its production processes thanks to 3D printing and design automation. These measures were particularly important for the rapid introduction of the new all-electric Audi E-Tron GT, which required almost 200 new tools, devices and aids. Traditionally cost-intensive and time-consuming design and production steps were significantly shortened as a result.

Böllinger Höfe is renowned for the production of the Audi R8 and Audi E-Tron GT high-performance vehicles. High efficiency is essential in this state-of-the-art production facility. Each workstation has limited time to assemble components, which is why customized tools and fixtures are crucial. They not only make the mechanics’ work easier, but also ensure the consistently high quality of the end products.

“We produce nearly eight hundred tools and jigs and fixtures for our factory here,” said Cem Guelaylar, 3D Printing Expert at Audi Sport. “Outsourcing needs more than two or three, four weeks, or months. Depends on the supplier and the process to bring the order to the supplier. 3D printing helped us to get these tools in a very short time. The workers come to us and say, I need a fixture to assemble the cars. It takes one day to get this tool in his hand.”

Audi Sport used the Fixturemate software to develop the numerous new tools and fixtures for the Audi E-Tron GT. This makes it possible to design customized fixtures in just a few minutes. A component is imported, set at the correct angle and then fixed in place by adding a base plate, supports and mounting holes. Fixturemate’s intuitive operation allows even inexperienced users to create designs quickly and efficiently.

“We started to produce the Audi E Tron GT full electric car here. We needed nearly two hundred fixtures and tools for this new car. Fixturemate helped us in a short time to bring a lot of fixtures,” Guelaylar noted. “We put our parts in Fixturemate, bring the fixture out of this software in minutes. Normally, in classic construction, we need two hours, three hours, four hours, depending on the size of the part. Fixturemate is very easy to use. We can bring trainees and show them how to use the fixturemate software, and they can directly work with this software and bring the fixtures in a short time.”

The tools are produced in Audi Sport’s own 3D printing room. Among other things, Ultimaker S5 printers are used here, which make it possible to produce tools within a day at a fraction of the cost. Defective parts can be improved and reprinted immediately.

“We use Tough PLA because it’s cheap and it’s easy to use. We use TPU mostly for protection and to protect car parts. We also use ESD safe materials and sometimes ABS or PETG. 3D printing is, for us, a very fast and helpful thing for our factory and our workers,” Guelayler continued.

Thanks to 3D printing technology and the use of Fixturemate, Audi Sport has been able to reduce tooling production costs by over 80 percent and cut lead times from several weeks to one day. The integration of these technologies has not only increased efficiency, but also made production more flexible and adaptable, which ultimately optimizes the entire manufacturing process.

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