Helping Toyota Get Products To Market Quicker

Project name: Exterior component testing on the Toyota Corolla

Summary | Toyota use Ricoh’s 3D printing in the automotive industry to validate a number of exterior component parts for design, fit and function.

The problem | Founded in 1936, Toyota is a household name and market leader in the automotive industry, known for their innovation and quality.

The leading car manufacturer needed to validate the design, fit and function of a range of their exterior components for the Corolla hybrid, touring sport and hatchback models – but the traditional manufacturing process made it an expensive and time-consuming process.

The solution | Using Ricoh’s AM 3D printing service in automotive industry, we were able to produce components including the full bumper skirt kit in a fraction of the time using our unique polypropylene material.

Due to its lightweight and flexible properties, polypropylene is the ideal choice for exterior car parts that need to flex and offer super lightweight performance.

Our polypropylene enabled Toyota to print prototypes in the final material of choice. Using our own technology, Ricoh’s AM S5500P selective laser sintering (SLS) system allowed Toyota to trial the performance of prototype components on their test vehicles, including wind tunnel testing.

The manufacture of prototypes with AM meant that Toyota were able to understand with greater accuracy how prototypes in end-use material perform under testing, reducing the end-to-end development cycle of their products, delivering cost savings and harnessing the power of AM to introduce new models to market quicker.

As part of this ongoing relationship, Ricoh have also worked to further refine our polypropylene joining process for large scale components such as this, enabling the customer to benefit from our continuous improvement methodology and working practices.