At the 78th International Motor Show in Geneva, Pininfarina presented the Sintesi, a new concept car that explores ideas and solutions for the car of the future. Materialise has made several stereolithography components for this car. It is the first time in history that additive technologies play such a prominent role in a concept car project.

Sintesi: a revolutionary concept car
 

“Sintesi” is the result of the Pininfarina Design Department, under the direction of Lowie Vermeersch. The Sintesi is a sports car with four doors and four seats, developed by a highly innovative approach: it does not consider the car as a shape that covers the mechanicals, but one that gives a shape to the mechanicals around the passengers, starting from the latter. This approach, which is known as “Liquid” Packaging, has overturned traditional volumetric balances, improving weight distribution and lowering the centre of gravity, which are important elements for driving dynamics.

"Our source of inspiration was man’s freedom over technology, a car in which technology gives creative freedom back to the designer and allows us to explore new forms and future scenarios. This is why we combined and tested our ideas with the innovative technologies provided by our partners in this project. In its search for partners for Sintesi, Pininfarina sought not only the best partners, but partners willing to share the project as a whole: its challenges, difficulties, problems and solutions." Lowie Vermeersch, Director Pininfarina Design Department.

Materialise & Sintesi: concept car industry discovers additive manufacturing

The new car design forms and futuristic approach that are characterising the Sintesi, excluded the use of traditional manufacturing technologies. Pininfarina therefore needed a partner with substantial knowledge of Freeform Manufacturing, like Materialise. Freeform Manufacturing uses additive technologies (also referred to as 3D printing/ rapid prototyping technologies), fully automated processes that don't require moulds and thus allow a virtually unlimited freedom in design.

Today, these technologies are increasingly used in the production of concept cars and gradually, they will be applied for the production of final cars as well. The use of Freeform Manufacturing allowed Pininfarina to materialise their creative design ideas. Materialise has produced several components for the Sintesi project, all by means of the additive technology Stereolithography: the radiator, control panels, roof antenna, remote controller, roof light cover and most importantly, the instrument panel which is the centrepiece of the car’s interior.

The interior of the car is not conceived as a separate element but is fully integrated with the overall design. The instrument panel is designed as one integrated semitransparent piece, deriving its richness from a sophisticated play of light that serves as a visual and intuitive feedback for the different functions.
The tremendous complexity of the dashboard combined with the translucent aspect, required the use of additive technologies, as no other technology would have been capable of realising the same ground-breaking effect. During the file preparation phase, a complex webbing structure was integrated in the dashboard to give it functional strength.

The eventual panel was “printed” in its full width on a Materialise Mammoth stereolithography machine, with a build volume up to 2150 x 700 x 800 mm, in a translucent PP-like epoxy (Poly 1500). Due to its complexity, also the radiator had to be manufactured by means of additive technologies. The production of the smaller components like the roof antenna and remote controller show the endless personalisation possibilities of additive manufacturing. Nowadays, the state of the art of additive technologies allows that this type of products can be manufactured in small series of production cars or one-offs. This is a big step forward towards real personalised manufacturing.

"This is the first concept car that not only uses additive techniques but really exploits all the advantages of personalised manufacturing."  Bart Van der Schueren, Executive Vice President Materialise.

 

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