Volkswagen uses 3D printing to produce face shields to fight Coronavirus…

In response to the corona crisis, the Volkswagen Group has started to produce face shield holders by 3D printing. This is part of a joint transnational initiative with Airbus and the 3D printing network “Mobility goes Additive”, which includes about 250 companies.

The products developed by Airbus will be used in Spain and will be flown from Hamburg to Madrid by Airbus. In addition, there are a number of other initiatives by Volkswagen Group brands to produce medical supplies.

Production is in progress not only at the large 3D printing centers in Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt, but also at other plants of Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, MAN Truck & Bus, Porsche, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Components and Volkswagen Motorsport. The Group currently uses more than 50 3D printers at its plants continuously adding additional printers for this project.

Lamborghini, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen Passenger Cars are also working on other medical supplies: Volkswagen Navarra (Spain) has already started last week to produce face shields and has handed about 1,000 units to the Navarra Government.

In collaboration with the Technical University in Prague, ŠKODA has developed a 3D printing process to produce reusable FFP3 respirators. The Czech Ministry of Health is now distributing these to doctors, hospitals and nursing staff.

Skoda is printing in 3D reusable FFP3 respirators…

Lamborghini is converting departments of its super sports car production plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese in order to produce surgical masks and protective plexiglass shields. The masks will be donated to a hospital in Bologna.

Lamborghini is stitching face masks…

SEAT is currently working on several initiatives to collaborate, including the production of a mechanical ventilator that will be assembled in Martorell and various models of face masks which are still pending official approval. See our story elsewhere. Volkswagen South Africa is also printing masks and face shields which are pending official approval.


Lamborghini Research and Development technicians and engineers are producing 200 medical face shields per day…

To date, Volkswagen has already donated several hundred thousand medical face masks for the public health system in Germany. The Volkswagen Group has also decided to donate additional medical supplies such as face masks and protective clothing for medical centers and hospitals with a total value of about €40 million. This is intended as a contribution to maintaining the functioning of the health system in Germany. As a global group, Volkswagen is also using its international supplier and logistics network to provide support for the procurement of medical equipment and supplies.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Mercedes puts 3D printers and F1 team at work against Corona virus…

A part of the professional machinery: the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.

In usual times, the 3D printers at Mercedes-Benz produce automobile components. Now Daimler is making its machines, know-how, and trained specialists available for the production of medical equipment.

As many as 150,000 components are 3D-printed annually at Daimler’s car production plants. In usual times these components are primarily used in prototype construction and small-series production. This capacity is now used in full for the production of medical equipment. See the film on https://youtu.be/GjTNernMVfk. 

The Formula One Team is developing and producing breathing aids.

Many of the competing F1 teams have joined their forces and are now working at high speed to produce breathing aids. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is working together with six other Formula One teams in order to help. So-called CPAP breathing aids, which have been developed in record time by the University College London and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, are already in use in hospitals; the company’s experts are currently producing more of these machines.

Typical desktop printer: FDM process for smaller applications. Representation of a bionic component structure – an advantage of additive manufacturing.

In France, the PSA Group and Valeo are contributing volunteer workers, factory space and technical expertise to help France ramp up domestic production of ventilators to help coronavirus victims.

The Mercedes factory printer is running: layered application of the sinter fill powder on a professional SLS machine.

This venture, led by ventilator maker Air Liquide Medical Systems, seeks to produce 10,000 units by the middle of May.

PSA said it would build mechanical components of the ventilators in its factory in Poissy, west of Paris. There 50 volunteers will be involved, a further 50 at PSA’s technology center in Velizy. Final assembly of the units will be in Air Liquide’s nearby factory in Antony.

At Mercedes, the printing is finished. The component is “unpacked” and cleaned.

Valeo will lend its expertise by putting some of its purchase department staff in charge of supplier management and working out the procurement process. It will provide R&D support, and expertise in plastics and mechanical and electronic technologies. Valeo production engineers will help set up processes and training.

The effort is widespread: some 100 other French companies have been enlisted to provide parts and technical support.

Worldwide efforts…  

Other carmakers and suppliers in China, Europe and the US have announced plans to build medical equipment and face masks. Among them are BYD, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, GM, McLaren, Tesla and Volkswagen.

For example, Lamborghini has started making face shields and face masks at its plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.

Hans Knol ten Bensel