News . 3D Printing

03 May 2017

In 2016 Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the CEO of Rolls-Royce, shared how embracing new technologies, including 3D printing, is his strategy for the company’s survival.

Total sales of Rolls-Royce cars increased by 6% in 2015, the UK being the highest increase in demand by 26%, and the US by 10%.

Now in 2016 the sales figures show just how successful this custom-made approach is, as Rolls-Royce sold over 4,000 cars for only the second time in history.

According to Rolls-Royce, “Today, practically every motor car that leaves the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England is Bespoke.”

The teak dashboard of the Nautical Dawn is inlaid with a clock based on the commissioning customer’s favourite watch. Details match those of a Rolex Yachtmaster.

As the design of Rolex watches is patented it is entirely possible, and perhaps preferable, that the clock could have been reverse engineered from a 3D scanned model of the customer’s exact Yachtmaster watch. 3D printed models would be useful for the prototyping process.

All bespoke Rolls-Royces are based on existing car types (The Dawn, Phantom etc.), the company will undoubtedly add personal touches into existing 3D CAD models of the cars too. But the real 3D printing potential lies in the new Phantom model which is set to launch in 2018.

A new Phantom approaches

The current Phantom hasn’t been remodelled since 2003.

Since 2012 however, the German BMW Group (ETR:BMW) who own Rolls-Royce, have been additively manufacturing parts for it in a dedicated additive manufacturing facility at their Research and Innovation Center in Munich.

As of July 2016, BMW had 3D printed 10,000 parts for the of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

3D printed parts for the Phantom are exclusively plastic components; holders for hazard-warning lights, lock buttons, parking brakes and sockets, though for Rolls-Royce clientele these components would not be beyond customisation.

Though exact details of the Phantom’s production are so far under wraps, 3DPI are looking forward to see which new technologies Rolls-Royce may implement in the new design.

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