The Stellantis group has been eyeing 3D printing for some time, in particular through the activities of its French component PSA (which includes PEUGEOT and Citroën). PSA has struck deals with Divergent 3D and introduced experimental printed parts – even metal ones – for Citroën cars. The Italian-American part of the company, FCA, has been working on prototyping for more than two decades, with the famous example of the Alfa Giulia grille. More recently, the company has worked with MJF technology for production components for its Jeep-branded cars and other long-term concept projects. Now everything comes together with MJF 3D printed commercial accessories for the PEUGEOT 308.
Available from the PEUGEOT LIFESTYLE store, the range of accessories comprising a glasses holder, a can holder and a telephone/card holder has been created specifically for the new PEUGEOT 308. It is the first 3D printing technology is used on a utility car accessories from the company, an innovation that promises to be very promising for the entire automotive industry.
These accessories are the result of joint work by PEUGEOT’s Design, Product and Research & Development teams in collaboration with HP Inc., Mäder and ERPRO. They are 3D printed using the new HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technology. The objective is to offer innovative products that are pleasant to the touch, light, solid and easy to use, which enhance the interior well-being offered by the 308 and its new PEUGEOT i-Cockpit.
The objective of the designers at the start of the project was to make the accessories more visible and attractive by innovating and using modern materials. The range of accessories has been developed after a detailed analysis of how customers use in-car storage. As traditional materials do not meet the specifications, the PEUGEOT Design “Colors and Materials” team worked with its partners to develop a material with a more innovative look. 3D printing was the obvious solution.
Flexible and environmentally friendly
PEUGEOT underlined that the company considers 3D printing to be one of the fundamental pillars of the fourth industrial revolution. With this new technology it is possible to increase flexibility, adapting to the needs of an increasingly demanding and unpredictable market. All kinds of custom objects and accessories can be produced without the need for expensive molds and manufacturing tools.
Another key benefit, 3D printing is also better for the environment, a very important feature in PEUGEOT and STELLANTIS’ quest for sustainable manufacturing processes that save resources and waste. Its use is becoming more and more widespread and is revolutionizing the manufacturing system in many industries. Indeed, additive manufacturing is becoming an alternative to manufacturing techniques such as injection molding.
The project turned to 3D printing as a way to have fewer manufacturing constraints and more possibilities for part complexity (removal of injection molding), opening up new creative spaces for its designers. Optimized structures offer reduced weight, greater strength, fewer assemblies and flexibility through the use of trusses.
As an agile production method, high-throughput 3D printing such as that offered by HP also offers endless possibilities for customization, mass production with shorter lead times and no need for inventory thanks to “on-demand” production. demand”. In addition, this technology is constantly evolving, both in terms of the materials it uses and the production methods. And production costs keep falling.
A most innovative material
In a few months, the teams have together developed a new polymer with several advantages. It is more flexible, malleable and robust. It can be 3D printed very quickly and is custom made. In addition, it offers a very high quality of rendering, with details of great precision thanks to very fine molecules. The flexible material used is Ultrasint thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), the result of a partnership between HP Inc. and BASF. This material provides durable, strong and flexible parts. It is a perfect material for shock-absorbing parts that require high elasticity and for flexible mesh-like structures. The material can be used to produce parts with high surface quality and a very high level of detail.
The use of TPU in car interiors is a new approach, now patented by the STELLANTIS Group. The group admits that 3D printing is still in its infancy in the automotive industry conceding that the technology is intended to be developed in series, not only on the range of accessories but also on more technical parts of the next PEUGEOT models . The advantages of AM offer endless production possibilities that STELLANTIS now intends to implement.