Manufacturing example: Console box

Designbeispiel: Werkstückträger

The future is now!

The LQ from Toyota stands for a new understanding of mobility and for futuristic design, both outside and in. That's why the designers in Japan aimed to develop a center console for the LQ that is much more than a practical armrest. Functionality and safety were to be combined with a completely new design to create something incomparable. Of course, without breaking the strict budget.

The decision to use additive manufacturing to produce the console was an obvious one. With FIT as a partner, Toyota's goal in this project was to develop and produce a center console that had to be:

  • very light to enable the vehicle to have the longest possible range.
  • very safe, because the LQ is a concept vehicle with road approval.
  • extraordinary and awe-inspiring with its appearance.

The starting point was an initial design draft of the console, which was still too heavy due to its relatively massive geometry and therefore too expensive to manufacture. At this point, the design experts from FIT took over further development.

Vom Datensatz zum Serienbauteil

Design is the key

What is particularly exciting about the console box, however, is its inner structure, as it is a very lightweight, hollow construction. To ensure the necessary stability, the design professionals at FIT developed a network of struts whose profile was precisely matched to the loads on the console. This ensured that the center console weighed only 7.0 kg, yet was robust enough to pass the required safety tests for road approval.

The design project simultaneously defined the manufacturing strategy for 3D printing. Quality and manufacturing costs were key considerations. Due to the size of the console, it was not possible to manufacture the component in one piece. So the console was broken down into 8 individual parts, which together could be perfectly produced in one build job.

To ensure that the regulations regarding flame retardancy for components in the interior of vehicles were met, a thorough material selection was carried out before production. As part of an ADM-D project, various material alternatives were analysed for their suitability and tested accordingly. This showed that PA 2241 FR was the optimum material for manufacturing the console box.

Der Weg vom CT-Scan zum Implantat

Additive series production (ADM-V)

A total of 32 console boxes were produced with this flame-retardant plastic, 20 of which were installed in vehicles and 12 were used for test purposes at Toyota. Selective laser sintering (SLS or PBF-LB/P) was used as the manufacturing process for series production. In order to control the quality of the manufacturing process, corresponding test specimens were built for each console box.

After the individual parts had been de-powdered and blasted, the console box was assembled. This had to be precise so that the console could be easily installed in the respective vehicle in Japan using special clips. To ensure this, special gauges were used, made of Oriol, specifically designed by FIT, manufactured via CNC milling. Their exact dimensions were ensured by means of tactile 3D coordinate measurement. With this tool, it was possible to reliably check whether all parts were correctly dimensioned and perfectly fitting together. For the final assembly, the individual parts were welded together. The seams were precisely ground flat so that a perfectly smooth surface was achieved for the painting process undertaken at Toyota.

In the final quality assurance stage, each console box was optically scanned using a GOM scanner according to Toyota's precise specifications. The results were summarized in a detailed inspection report. In addition, the installation of the electronic components (touchpad, buttons, switches) was simulated. For this purpose, FIT produced true-to-original dummies using SLA from Accura HPC. Their dimensional accuracy was again checked by tactile 3D coordinate measurement. This ensured that the components fit perfectly during final assembly and that the corresponding gap dimensions were consistently maintained.

Packaging was also carried out with great care. For this purpose, the console boxes were packed in cartons with special filler material, placed on pallets and provided with the appropriate cautionary notes. In this way, all the consoles arrived intact in Japan.

Die speziellen Prozess-Anforderungen

The special process requirements

The particular challenge in this project was to develop a design that on the one hand met Toyota's high demands, but on the other hand could also be produced at a reasonable cost. Both have been achieved in this project, with Toyota benefiting in particular from the following advantages:

  • Low component weight of only 7.0 kg
  • Low component complexity, as the bracket consists of only 8 parts
  • High component stability that meets all safety requirements for road approval
  • Fulfillment of fire protection requirements due to flame-retardant plastic PA 2241 FR
  • Delivery of a total of 32 brackets within 10 weeks since project start-up

It was the combination of design and manufacturing expertise that convinced Toyota to realize the project together with FIT. The fact that FIT was able to produce not only the components themselves, but also the necessary gauges, dummies, etc., thus guaranteeing the perfect quality of the console boxes, was another winning point for FIT.

Take advantage of our comprehensive service to have your vehicle components manufactured safely and reliably as series parts with additive manufacturing at FIT.


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The way to your series part

Service

Content

Result

Feasibility check
We check the suitability of your component for additive manufacturing, develop recommendations and/or suggestions for possible adaptations.
You will receive recommendations for action for production-related design adjustments as well as an estimate of the minimum possible manufacturing costs.
Feasibility study
We analyse the component requirements, identify the elements that are critical to manufacturing in the design, develop a valid manufacturing process and create a feasibility report.
You will receive a production plan for your component, a rough estimate of the manufacturing costs and a cost breakdown for the next project steps.
Design adjustment
We make corrections to your design that are necessary for production.

If required, we will develop a new design for you as part of an ADM-D project.
You will receive a report on the design changes and their impact, as well as a concrete quotation for the component production with the final manufacturing costs.
AM optimization
We optimize and finalize all processes from data preparation to shipping.
You will receive a production report (including details of the measures required and any resulting modification costs).
AM validation
We verify and validate (taking into account the required standards and criteria) all processes in a pilot production.
A quality-tested process for series production is available to you.
Additive series manufacturing (ADM-V)
We mass-produce your component according to the final manufacturing and quality assurance agreement.
Your series parts are available for the final application.
Quality assurance during the process
Depending on your requirements, we carry out the necessary quality assurance measures before, during and after production.
We hand over to you the corresponding quality certificates from each production phase.

Facts about the console box

FIT solution:ADM-V (incl. ADM-D and ADM-E)
Scope of services:Development of the design (ADM-E)
Material qualification (ADM-D)
Additive volume manufacturing incl. traceability (ADM-V)
Production of gauges
Production of dummies for installation control
Quality control and documentation (measurement reports)
Packaging and shipping
Project duration:10 weeks
Part dimensions:1.200 x 250 x 480 mm
Part weight:7,0 kg
Lot size:32 pieces
Material:PA 2241 FR
Technology:Selective laser sintering (PBF-LB/P)
Post-processing:Blasting, assembling, plastics welding, milling
Quality control:Tactile 3D coordonate measuring
GOM scan
Certificate:ISO 9001

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Achim Chrupala

Your contact person

Achim Chrupala
Industry specialist for automotive

+49 9492 9429 882

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