The Volkswagen Academy in Emden relies on modern methods to train future specialists. This increasingly includes 3D printing. In the 4.3 million square meter plant, where around 146,000 vehicles are produced each year, budding designers, mechanics and electricians undergo demanding, practical training.
The use of Prusa 3D printers also comes into play here. The printers are used for prototyping, training purposes, brainstorming and tool production, for example. Throughout the site, 34 printers are connected in a 3D printing farm with a robot arm to feed the printers.
According to Herbert Kretzmer, head instructor, VW has identified 3D printing technologies as an important factor for the future. The printers fit in perfectly with the academy’s training philosophy. Trainees are given tasks to develop creative solutions.
For example, apprentice Rieke Ubben was commissioned by ID.4 Fertigung to develop a template for attaching labels, which she implemented using 3D printing. In another project, apprentices improved the gripping comfort of an unwieldy tailgate screwdriver.
In total, 1900 hours of printing are required per week. Materials ranging from PETG to PC-CF with carbon fiber content are used. The team is currently also successfully testing the use of the larger Prusa XL. They are delighted with the print quality and the automation.
According to Kretzmer, training is about conveying an understanding of systems and process thinking – and 3D printing is a central element of this approach. The technology is intended to promote creativity and a willingness to innovate among junior staff.