SEAT Uses 3D Printers in Auto Design

seat uses d printers in automobile design
seat uses d printers in automobile design

The SEAT 3D Lab can produce the parts needed in the development process of a car with three-dimensional printers. Parts that will take a few weeks to produce with the traditional system are manufactured in this laboratory within 15 hours.


The automotive industry was one of the first to adopt 3D printing technology to save time and gain flexibility in all stages of the development and production of a car.

No mold, no design limitations, 10 times faster and 3D printing offers endless application possibilities. SEAT's 3D Printing Lab works like this.

The only limit is your imagination

"If you can dream it, we can do it." That's the motto of the 3D printing lab at the SEAT Prototype Center. With this in mind, the 9 printers in the lab are working to produce all kinds of parts for all departments of SEAT, such as design, production and logistics. “One of the advantages of this technology is that we can apply an infinite number of geometries and perform any high-precision design for all areas of the factory, however complex it may seem,” said Norbert Martin, Head of the SEAT 3D Printing Lab. Moreover, we can do all this in times when it is impossible for us to achieve with a normal process, ”he says.

No mold, no waiting

In addition to its versatility in design, the biggest advantage of using 3D technology is the production speed of parts. In the normal process, for example to make a mirror, a mold must first be produced and this can take weeks. In addition, the part produced with this mold becomes a unique model and if you want to make the slightest change in the product, you will have to make another mold. However, this preliminary stage is eliminated with 3D printing. Technicians take a file with the design and send the file to the printer as if it were a document. The track is ready within 15 hours. Norbert, “It would take weeks to own a part using traditional technologies. Thanks to 3D printing, we can prepare all kinds of parts for the next day. This allows us to produce several versions within the same week. Moreover, we can retest and change the manufactured parts to further improve them, ”he explains.

From kitchenware to face mask strap extenders

80 percent of the printed parts consist of prototypes produced for automobile development, but many products are here, from special tools for assembly line to kitchenware, custom logos for auto show vehicles and display vehicles, and even face mask strap extenders and door handles to help prevent coronavirus. It can be produced. “With this technology, we assist in product development, production and assembly, because we supply special tools that are lightweight and ready to be used by assembly line workers. "We even pressed accessories to open the doors with a handle without having to use face mask strap extensions and hands."

From nylon to carbon fiber

There are several types of additive manufacturing printers: multijet fusion, sintering, laser, fiber fusion, and even UV light processing. Depending on what is to be printed, printers with different technology may need to be used depending on the situation, since each printer prints the parts to be produced using a specific material. In addition to a one-to-one shape, a certain weight can be achieved or the material can withstand temperatures up to 100 °. SEAT 3D Printing Lab Manager, “An example of the technology we use to manufacture tools is the continuous fiber production printer (CFF). Here we are not only using plastic but also carbon fiber to reinforce it. Thus we get a much lighter and more powerful tool that can withstand many cycles ” says.

A 3D printed future

This technology is already available and its application areas are endless. The focus is now; New customer-oriented applications through the production of customized parts, special series or hard-to-find spare parts. "For example, if you need a part of one of our older models that is no longer manufactured, we will be able to print it," concludes Norbert.

3D Laboratory with Numbers

  • 9 printers: 1 HP Jet Fusion printer, 1 SLS, 6 FFF and 1 Polyjet (UV ray)
  • Average production of 50 pieces per day
  • Continuous 24 hour operation every day
  • 80 kilograms of polyamide powder and 12 rolls of nylon, ABS and other technical thermoplastics per month
  • Parts created from 0,8 micron layers

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