One of the dreams behind 3D printing is the ability to mass customize end-use parts. Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., is one of the first manufacturers to successfully accomplish this dream. The designers at Daihatsu are collaborating with Stratasys Ltd., a 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions’ company.
Based in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan, Daihatsu partnered with Stratasys, Kota Nezu from industrial design company Znug Design, Inc. and 3D creator Sun Junjie to turn the vision into reality. Designers created 15 “Effect Skins” – intricate geometric and organic patterns in 10 different colors that are 3D printed using Stratasys Fortus 3D printers. Customers can adjust the parameters of the designs themselves, exponentially increasing the number of options and allowing “one-off” customization for each consumer.
The skins may be ordered for front and rear bumpers and fenders.
The Effect Skins are 3D printed on Fortus Production 3D Printers using ASA thermoplastic, a durable, UV resistant and aesthetic material. “What would have taken two to three months to develop can now be produced in two weeks,” says Mr. Osamu Fujishita, General Manager, Corporate Planning Department, Brand DNA Office, Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
The traditional manufacturing method of reducing costs is mass production of identical parts to take advantage of economies of scale. But this Effect Skins project illustrates the power of 3D printing when it comes to creating on-demand product parts with high customizability and rich design properties. “This project would not have been possible with traditional manufacturing or tooling methods,” explains Mr. Kota Nezu, Znug Design.
“We believe on-demand production [with 3D printing] offers definite benefits to supply chain efficiencies,” adds Osamu Fujishita. “And it allows easy access for customers.”
The Effect Skin project is being tested in 2016 in select markets with plans for commercialization in early 2017.