The process of building a car is a long and tedious task especially for luxury lines. Cars such as Rolls-Royce are known to have been meticulously and painstakingly made compared to common commercial cars. These vehicles tend to consume more time than it takes to build mainstream cars and need more resources to make the parts.
Now, the world as we know it is constantly changing at a rapid pace which means that technology has evolved to become proportional to time. Time has been a very important factor in the production industry especially in the automotive world where various automakers have to compete among themselves to produce the latest technology. With new technologies on the rise, the mass production of vehicles has become faster thus resulting to lower production time and lower cost. Moreover, production is increased which translates to more sales.
One of the most recent technological innovations slowly taking root in various production plants is the process called Additive Manufacturing or what we commonly call 3D Printing. Back then we thought that it would be impossible to print a three-dimensional object in real life but now it has been made possible. In fact, it has been used in various industries including the automotive world.
German automaker BMW has been using the said technology for over 25 years primarily to produce prototypes or “one-off custom parts” and in 2012, it made end-use parts for their new Rolls-Royce Phantom. More than 10,000 3D printed components have been produced over the years used for each Phantom coupe that came off their assembly line. BMW was able to successfully (and effectively) incorporate 3D printed hazard-warning light holders, center lock buttons and electronic parking brakes and sockets into the Phantom coupe. Through this breakthrough, the German automaker has by far successfully converted traditionally manufactured parts to 3D printed components and will begin to incorporate the same technology into this year’s Rolls-Royce Dawn.
The 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn will come with 3D printed mounting brackets for the fiber optic lines - wires, hoses and fiber optic-cables. As much as it has disappointed most Rolls-Royce purists who expected its production line to be made exactly as its ancestors (which in translation is about exerting “blood, sweat and tears”), it has become advantageous in a sense that the 3D printers have made it doable to plaster the owner’s name on the mounting bracket. Also, BMW admitted that there are various parts on the Dawn that are just impossible to produce using the conventional manufacturing technologies and so 3D printing became their best resort.
Only some of the components for BMW’s future vehicles will be made from this 3D technology so we won’t be expecting full-fledged 3D-printed cars from the German automaker yet. This technology has benefitted BMW by minimizing production time and saving cost replacing plastic-made components such as holders for hazard-warning lights, center lock buttons, electronic parking brakes, and sockets. Parts are manufactured faster using the said technology as compared to the traditional method but BMW maintains the same quality standards. The BMW group aims to make additive technologies its main production method in its future endeavors and is expecting to expand the use of their advanced 3D printed parts on all of their vehicles.