In the automotive sector, limited editions of successful models are a smart marketing move. But car makers are always looking for specific ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors within their market segments. DS Automobiles, a brand by the PSA Group, managed to establish itself on the premium segment within a few years thanks to a series of iconic models. The compact DS 3 model has received widespread recognition throughout this segment, with limited edition models being unveiled on a regular basis. For the Dark Side edition, DS Automobile wanted to go further than the usual equipment by including 3D printed parts to highlight their continuous dedication to innovation. Additive manufacturing gave complete creative freedom to the DS design team, as well as very fast and easy implementation and production thanks to Spartacus3D experts working with an EOS M 290 machine.
It's been a tremendous project from start to finish, as exciting as it was challenging for our expertise. We are excited to imagine that all these cars are now all over the world. And throughout all of this project, we knew we could count on reliability, quality and support from EOS.
The DS design team used an innovative parametric design to create the inside door handle covers and the electronic key holder detail in a very intricate titanium mesh, highlighting the innovation and quality dedication of DS Automobiles.
In order to find the best compromise between quality, cost and design, many iterations were necessary between the DS design team and Spartacus3D. This included the manufacturing of several prototypes, something that additive manufacturing makes particularly easy to perform in a single production batch.
As part of this process, the DS design team also selected the finish of the parts; they ultimately settled on an attractive matte finish obtained by manual polishing. The quality team defined precise acceptance criteria for the distortion, surface quality (e.g. porosity and shine), and cutting edges. In parallel to this back-and-forth, Spartacus3D also worked on optimizing the production of the parts; in order to reduce the costs, Spartacus3D not only needed to determine the best orientation and support structure, but also needed to refine their proprietary laser melting strategy. Titanium is known to generate some residual stresses during the melting process, and the long and thin door handle cover was a good candidate for maximum distortion. Adding a stress-relieving heat treatment was not viable costwise; instead, some specific parameters were used to prevent this risk. Other ways of shrinking the cost include increasing the parts per batch or reducing the number of supports, the powder consumption, the post-processing time, etc.
The AM expertise of Spartacus3D was invaluable throughout every step of the process, from design engineering to 3D printing optimization, resulting in shorter product development life cycles and quicker time-to-market. Selecting the optimal material helped to ensure rigidity and guarantee maximum part quality after post-processing. “Being selected to partner with DS Automobiles on this very innovative project is a privilege. Their brand has faithfully represented elegance and know-how in the French automotive industry for years. This also means that our efforts are being rewarded and shows that Spartacus3D is capable of offering robust solutions for serial production. Using the DMLS systems that we have in our workshop, we knew we would be able to produce the best parts," says Charles de Forges, Managing Director of Spartacus3D.