HELLA Automotive has been developing, refining, and manufacturing vehicle lighting for over 100 years. Recently, they began developing a LED headlight replacement for police vehicles and identified two problems with existing replacements:
- The warning lights (turn signals, brake lights, etc.) on police cars will not function if the flashing lights are enabled. This problem creates unsafe driving conditions and can lead to accidents.
- Procedures for installing the alternative headlights can lead to costly mistakes, such as drilling errors, poor silicone seals, and long curling times.
HELLA found a solution, but realized they’d need to prototype and produce a large variety of adaptors in small batches; this meant traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding was not a viable option. They reached out to us to determine if 3D printing was a solution.
Our team worked out production run costs at the start, which allowed our customer to validate ROI in the early stages. Understanding the costs involved gave HELLA confidence to move forward with the research and development for the project.
We began with a deep dive into requirements and determined HELLA’s primary goals were:
- Finding a material that would hold up to the installed environment and have a higher temperature resistance
- Designing a part that would be easy to install for a team not familiar with 3D printing
- Producing cost-effective parts
With their goals in mind, we tested a variety of materials and printed prototypes so we could get the form, fit and resistances for the headlights just right. In addition, our team was able to provide expert input for the customer that resulted in better 3D prints moving forward.
We were able to add additional value for the customer by providing a retail packaging solution for HELLA, saving them time sourcing and coordinating from a separate vendor. We’ve also provided additional safety stock for HELLA to keep on hand in case there are supply chain peaks that require immediate shipments.
“We could not have launched this product the way we did without the flexibility of your team and 3D printing.”
3D Printing Tech rose to the challenge and helped design vehicle adapters that overcame obstacles the customer faced in the development process, exceeding expectations on quality, pricing and service.
HELLA Automotive Company Overview
The dream for HELLA was born in 1899 in Lippstadt, Germany. At the time, they specialized in building lanterns, headlamps, horns, and fittings for bicycles, carriages, and automobiles. They have now grown to a global company with over 125 locations in 35 different countries. The organization develops and manufactures lighting and electronic components as well as systems for automobiles. With sales of €5.8 billion in the fiscal year 2019/2020 and 36,000 employees, HELLA is one of the leading automotive suppliers.
3D Printing Tech Company Overview
3D Printing tech offers extensive experience in 3D printing technologies with business, personal, and problem-solving skills to develop workable solutions for clients. We are a relationship-based company that understands the importance of effective communication. Our production printing capabilities and hands-on approach allow us to quickly assess parts for 3D printability and go from assessment to production within hours. We print with a variety of different materials and methods to match the usage demands of the part to the proper material and build structure.