By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 21 September 2017
Heidelberg is demonstrating the ways its Omnifire 4D printing system can be used by the automotive industry at the IAA 2017 motor show in Frankfurt.
The manufacturer is presenting as a technology partner at the event, which is taking place this week, and showing how objects, such as instrument bezels, ventilation nozzles and alloy rims can be custom decorated or embellished using the Omnifire.
Customers can design bespoke trim components for their car interiors using a configurator app. The overall design, which can be immediately viewed on a tablet or in virtual reality, is then optimised for colour printing. Haptic effects can also be added to the surfaces of the components.
An Omnifire 250 is being demonstrated at the show on the smart stand in the Mercedes FabLab. Heidelberg said visitors can see trim components being printed live and learn about how the company’s 4D printing technology can provide a quick and easy way to realise individual designs in small-scale production.
Additionally, alloy wheels manufacturer Borbet is using the IAA show to demonstrate how lightweight construction and surface finishing using printing, paints and coatings are shaping the future of the wheel. The company is showing alloy wheels finished using Omnifire technology at the event.
A Heidelberg spokesperson said: “This is just one example of where the Omnifire could be used in an industrial area – it could also be used in the aviation industry, for example, and in consumer areas where you could individualise footballs, bottles, shoes or whatever you could think of.
“It could be very broadly used in many industrial processes to make mass goods more attractive for end-users.”
The Omnifire technology was unveiled in 2014 and shown for the first time at InPrint in 2015. It is in keeping with the manufacturer’s “Heidelberg goes Digital” strategy, which it focused on heavily at Drupa last year with the presentation of the Smart Print Shop.