The Challenge of Creating a Distinct Look With a Flawless Finish
In order to paint the bicolor Audi A1, the full car body is first coated in the main color, then the entire car is masked, aside from the contrast bow, and a second color is applied. Although the effect is worth the effort, the second step was proving to be quite the challenge. To make sure that even the most difficult edges were perfect, Audi approached Materialise for RapidFit+ jigs; first for the trunk, and later for the doors.
Materialise Delivers with Innovative Solutions
Due the demand for multiple sets of the same jigs, engineering services adapted the designs so that they were suitable for being made with soft tooling. In this way, copies could be made with the same specifications but more cost effectively.
Although RapidFit+ jigs are known for their flashy orange finish, these jigs were printed in yellow to contrast better with the colors of paint used, and every last detail paid off. Thanks to the jigs, the difficult to paint trunks were coming out finished to a standard befitting an Audi.
A Happy Customer is a Repeat Customer
Following the success of the first set of RapidFit+ jigs, Audi came back with a second request, this time for the car doors. When it comes time to mask and paint the second color, the doors need to be removed, being replaced after the job is done. This is done semi-automatically, a common problem being that during removal and replacement the doors collide with the body causing scratches. When this occurs, the cars have to be taken off the line and refinished manually.
In order to prevent this time consuming extra step, Materialise created two more jigs, one for outside the door so that the door doesn’t touch the fender, and one for inside to prevent collision with the inner body. This time, it was of great importance that the jigs were easy to place and remove since the time to place and remove the doors was limited. Like the first two RapidFit+ jigs, the fender jig was created with magnets for easy attachment and removal. However, the second inner jig was created with FDM printed integrated springs, allowing it to lock itself between the two door hinges.
Low Volume Production of Jigs for the Large Scale Production of Audi A1s
To meet production needs, a low volume production line was set up for all of the involved jigs. For the trunk, a total of six large jigs and three small jigs were produced. For the car doors, three of each jig was produced. With the designs on file at Materialise, these jigs can easily be reordered and delivered when additional jigs or replacements are needed.
The Audi A1 is a truly beautiful car, and Materialise is happy that they were able to help Audi get even the smallest details up to the standards they expect of their vehicles. There is talk that Audi will be offering the Audi A1 with a roof in a different color, so perhaps there will be a call for even more RapidFit+ jigs in the future.