Customer Success Story - Hankook Tire
The design department at Hankook Tire uses a ProJet 660 3D printer by 3D Systems as a key part of its concept design process. 3D printing technology has helped the design team deliver better communication between departments, save on costs, and improve design data security.
Founded in 1941, Korea’s Hankook Tire is currently both the seventh-largest
tire manufacturer in the world and one of the fastest growing. Now selling
in 185 countries worldwide, the company has developed a reputation for
high-quality tires at reasonable prices. But the tire industry comes with
intense competition, and Hankook takes design and development of new
products seriously. As part of their commitment to provide top-notch tires,
Hankook looks for the best ways to enable rapid development and testing of
innovative tire designs while keeping those in-progress designs secret.
“3D printing has became part of my
routine,” says Lee. “It is very attractive
technology that allows us to print whatever idea we have in mind, and produce it in full color.”
With this in mind, the company invested in a 3D Systems ProJet® 660, a 3D printer that uses ColorJet technology (CJP) to create perfect full-color models that can be assessed for form and function.
Myungjoong Lee , CAD professional in Hankook Tire’s design department, prints a tire design in the ProJet 660 before he leaves at the end of the day, and the final model will be waiting for him when he gets to work next morning. With the size of the models being created, it takes about seven to eight hours to build a finished mockup model overnight.
STEP 1: The designer sketches the pattern of
the tire by hand.
STEP 2: Working from the sketch idea, the
designer develops the design in CATIA.
STEP 3: The CAD data is saved to STL and into
the 3D printing software where the designer can
also define tire colors and size to print.
STEP 4: The first prototype of the design is
created as a 3D print.
“3D printing has became part of my routine,” says Lee. “It is very attractive
technology that allows us to print whatever idea we have in mind and
produce it in full color.”
Lee has found that 3D printing on the ProJet 660 has reduced the
communication errors between the design and engineering departments.
There can sometimes be friction between the two departments during the
decision-making process. Now, with detailed, realistic 3D prints on hand—
to touch, review and observe—communication and decision-making in
this process has noticeably improved. Meeting times for this part of the
process have also improved: they are about 70% shorter than before.
In addition, using the ProJet 660 in the design process has saved Hankook
money. Prior to having a 3D printer, the design team built mockups
through an external contractor. These mockups were handcrafted and
very expensive, plus the design would have to be mocked up for a variety
of different tire sizes. These handcrafted models would also never quite
perfectly match the original CAD design.
“Now,” says Lee, “the 3D print takes the exact dimensions of the CAD data
and reproduces it perfectly.”
As a final benefit, the team can now be more confident that its new design
innovations are staying in-house and secure. With the internal workflow,
they are no longer sending confidential data outside, thus reducing fears
of having their intellectual property stolen and misused.