Audi Academy 3D printing in automobile plants

Author / Editor: Zsolt Mészáros / Susanne Hertenberger

Hungary - While the benefits of 3D printing are being recognised in an increasing number of areas, its swift proliferation is hindered by the lack of experienced experts. As of spring 2018, 3D technology will become a part of the curriculum at the Audi Academy, the institution of Audi Hungary for vocational and continued training.

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As of spring 2018, 3D technology will become a part of the curriculum at Audi Academy, the institution of Audi Hungary for vocational and continued training.
As of spring 2018, 3D technology will become a part of the curriculum at Audi Academy, the institution of Audi Hungary for vocational and continued training.

Audi Akademie Hungaria Kft. is operating as a project and training centre, performing its activities in co-operation with the factory. Its courses are continuously expanding. A 3D lab has been recently set up as the first step to make the training of 3D-printing and scanning technologies as one further offering. The laboratory is home to a high-resolution 3D printer that uses stereolithography. FDM technology is represented by a double-headed 3D printer, while students have the opportunity to learn scanning using a handheld 3D scanner. At the same time that the laboratory was set up, an initiative aimed at collecting and sharing 3D-printing capacity and experiences that are present throughout the plant also contributes to the knowledge that can be acquired at the Audi Academy. MM Hungary recently spoke to Tibor Nagy, the trainer responsible for establishing and operating the lab as well as developing related training.

Tell us about the training centre; where are you right now?

Nagy: This building is the Project and Training Center of Audi Hungary. This is where professional training is being held for all staff members and this building also houses dual vocational training. To the right are the robots and machines that are being used for the production of current and future Audi generations within the plant. To the left, the Lean and other workflows are being presented and trained, while a mechatronics workshop is located at the back, which has an ample supply of CNCs and milling machines. The 3D-scanner and printer lab has been placed amongst these.

When did you first have the idea of training additive technologies?

The idea of the 3D lab arose back in the summer of 2016. 3D printing is clearly booming. Its' uses are surprisingly increasing from one day to the next. This is why we also wanted to become more familiar with it. Also, our parent institution in Ingolstadt also has a similar lab. Their academy has several 3D printers for training purposes and they also have detailed training programmes and established courses. Therefore, our main goal was to make this innovative technology a part of training. So, we went and contacted several companies with our plan, which was to present at least 2 printing technologies and a 3D scanner to students and colleagues. A group of experts are now on hand at Audi, and all areas with a 3D printer has been delegated with an expert. This makes it possible for us to share our knowledge efficiently.

How do you plan to establish your own training programme?

We have held 3D-modeling courses before. We would like to start regular 3D production-technology courses from the second quarter of 2018. Until then, the plans are being defined, and we are also performing research and consultation with our colleagues in Ingolstadt. This way, I can shape the courses held at the Audi Academy based on foreign and domestic examples.

In addition to training, what are you planning to use your 3D-printing and scanning capacity for?

One good example from many is this switch that we are currently printing. Broken or lost parts frequently need to be replaced, and we can take care of this at material costs for as low as one or two euros with these machines. I am sure that there is a huge number of other parts and jigs that are needed by various units. Vocational trainers also plan to use 3D printers during the value-creating works of students. Taking the forces into account, and based on the geometry, students can learn which technology is to be used and how. For example, we now have a student who is working with us on his thesis. The prints created for him are tested for accuracy, surface roughness and tolerance in the measurement room. We also have models in the print queue for load tests. As for the 3D scanner, we would like to use it on a robot arm as well as with our own rotary table and stand. In addition to training, one main area is reverse engineering, where we will make use of the technology currently available.

Thank you for the interview.

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