Automobile parts, especially the user interfacing ones, combine style with functionality. If they are high usage parts like door handles, they need to be extremely robust as well. This is why OEMs prefer to test physical prototypes of such parts for prolonged cycles to prove the design, before ordering the tooling.
3DPD was approached by a leading automobile OEM to produce prototypes of door handles, which could then be subjected to 30,000 cycles of tests. For such requirements, material selection plays an important role. Prototypes were made using SLA & they were used to validate the design. These SLA masters were used to create two sets of silicone rubber moulds to produce 50 sets of door handle assemblies. The parts were painted and fitted into the test vehicles for validation purposes. Each part was then put through 30,000 continuous test runs to check the reliability of the design. The parts successfully passed the tests and the OEM was able to go ahead with the production tooling to manufacture the new door handles.