If there is one sector that has been utilizing the potential of 3D printing for years, it is the transportation sector. Yet, parts and prototypes for cars and jet engines have been printed behind closed doors, often by suppliers operating in the background. In an elegant countermove, the Polish division of Volkswagen is now putting 3D printing into the spotlight with its television ad for the new VW Passat.
The stylish ad illustrates that 3D printing plays a critical role in designing and manufacturing new cars. It features the Polish 3D printing company 3D Gence that has not only won the 2014 award for best new Polish company but has also expanded beyond Europe to the U.S., setting up office in the Rocket Space technology campus in San Francisco where many successful start-ups began their journeys. At their headquarters in Poland, 3D Gence combines an experienced management team with scientists from Silesian University who provide technological knowhow and conduct research.
3D Gence’s printers have many features that make them well suited for the automotive industry. “General Motors’ Opel factory based in Gliwice was our first client,” says 3D Gence’s head of sales, Mateusz Sidorowicz, “and as a consequence, we created printers that are great tools for the automotive industry.”
Using a patented pressure control system in the nozzle, the 3D Gence produces an extremely accurate output. Their patented system for the quick removal of printer heads was an additional feature that attracted a great deal of attention at different trade shows and industry events in Poland and Germany. With this feature, no unscrewing, loosening of bolts or clamps is required. The printer head can be replaced with the push of a button within 30 seconds, according to the company.
The nozzle pressure measure system allows users to find the right temperature for new materials, a useful feature since the printer doesn’t have material restrictions but rather allows companies to use any material that is currently on the market. A unique ceramic table, auto-calibration and the ability to work continuously are additional characteristics of the 3D Gence printers that have found their way into the VW TV commercial.
Sidorowicz says that while the automotive industry is the company’s main focus right now it is not the only one. He emphasizes that the printers are also useful for architecture and medicine and for companies where prototyping is an important part of the product development process. Going forward, 3D Gence not only wants to expand its geographical reach and be present in all major regions but also continue their product development.
“We are currently working on a new bigger printer exclusive for industrial use”, says Sidorowicz. “We are also working on new materials for industrial use with better mechanical and chemical resistance”, he adds. And while this was – in all probability – the first time a 3D printing company has been featured in a TV car ad, it was probably not the last time 3D Gence moved into the spotlight.