Interview with Norbert Martín
Norbert Martín, head of the SEAT 3D Printing LAB
At the heart of the Martorell plant, the SEAT Prototype Development Centre houses an innovative space where new creations are made for all areas of the company: design, production and logistics. This 3D Printing Lab has 9 printers that operate 24 hours a day to produce parts using the latest technology. Norbert Martín, head of the SEAT 3D Printing LAB, explains how it works.
What role does 3D printing play at SEAT?
In our 3D Printing Lab we produce an average of 50 parts per day. 80% of all our production is prototype parts for the development of vehicles, although we also print customised tools and equipment for the assembly line or for our employees. For example, with the COVID-19 health crisis, we made facemask strap adjusters as well as accessories to open doors without touching the knobs with your hands.
How does 3D printing work?
The operation is simple: we receive a file with the design and we send it to be printed in three dimensions. We have up to 5 different technologies at our disposal, with additive manufacturing, continuous filament, with different types of plastic and even with carbon fibre. We therefore choose the right technology for each part according to its intended function.
What are its advantages?
We always say “if you can imagine it, we can make it”, or rather print it, as since we don’t use a mould, there are no limits when it comes to design and we can make any type of part with great precision. In this sense, one of the main advantages of this technology is that it enables us to save time. We can have parts ready in just one day, which allows us to prepare different variants or loops without lengthening the process. Therefore, if parts are needed urgently, we can get them 10 times faster than with conventional technologies, which would require creating a mould and waiting several weeks.
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