Volkswagen Autoeuropa nets parts savings with Ultimaker 3D printers

As for the returns on investment, Volkswagen Autoeuropa estimates that it saved $160,000 in 2016 with $200,000 expected in 2017 via Ultimaker 3D printers.

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Volkswagen said it has used systems from 3D printing company Ultimaker to design and print 1,000 parts in the last year to net cost savings.

Ultimaker, which is an open-source 3D printer maker, said Volkswagen Autoeuropa has created a bevy of custom parts with a set of Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 2+ printers.

Volkswagen Autoeuropa specializes in engineering, innovation, and developing new car models. Volkswagen Autoeuropa launches new models for the automaker. Ultimaker is used for gauges, jigs, and fixtures in a project that started in 2014.

Automakers and aircraft makers highlight how 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques are going mainstream. Read also: Additive manufacturing firms gear up for 3D-printed parts race in aviation | HP expands its 3D printing, additive manufacturing footprint in Asia Pacific

For Volkswagen Autoeuropa, the Ultimaker systems meant the company could produce parts in-house instead of sourcing them. Volkswagen Autoeuropa's Portugal-based plant produces 100,000 cars a year.

As for the returns on investment, Volkswagen Autoeuropa estimates that it saved $160,000 in 2016 with $200,000 expected in 2017. The benefits are customization, easy revisions, a 40-percent to 90-percent reduction in lead-time and low cost to start up.

Here are some specifics on returns on certain parts:

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