Bentley Motors, manufacturer of iconic high-end cars worldwide, has invested £ 3 million to double its 3D printing capacity at its Crewe, England plant, where all its models are manufactured. Additive manufacturing is an essential part of the factory’s operations – in 2021 alone, Bentley produced 15,000 parts on 3D printers. Thanks to the investment, Bentley will make even greater use of 3D printing in the production of structural components and interior fittings for its cars, as well as increase their personalization.
The fleet of 3D printers at the Crewe factory consists mainly of the latest generation of industrial machines such as FDM and PolyJet by Stratasys and MultiJet Fusion by HP, with which parts are made of PBF polymer with nylon materials and flexible TPU. With the help of 3D printing, Bentley not only produces parts for cars, but also numerous tools and components used during their assembly on production lines.
An example of this type of application is the super-accurate tooling needed to make parts for the Bentley Blower Continuation model – a replica of the iconic 1929 model. 3D printing was also used to create the physical components of several prototype Bentleys, including full-size models of the driveline and aerodynamic tunnel models aerodynamic. Advanced techniques were also used to produce parts for the record-breaking Bentley models that competed in the Pikes Peak Challenge races in the US.
Additive techniques help accelerate product development by enabling Bentley to manufacture large numbers of parts without outsourcing. 3D printers translate into 50% cost savings of manufactured parts, and operating around the clock, the plant is able to produce thousands of components in over 25 different material options.
The investment of 3 million pounds in the 3D printing department is also small compared to other plans of the company. Recently, Bentley announced that it will create the first-ever plant to specialize in the production of electric cars. The investment will be 2.5 billion pounds (approximately 3 billion euros) and will consist of a comprehensive modernization of the Crewe plant. Bentley’s goal is to develop and market new electric models for its exclusive vehicles within the next three years.