By Bennett Oghifo
Even nowadays, hardly any Porsche is the same as another. But from now on, the 911 can even be as unique as the papillary lines on a human fingertip. Using an innovative direct printing method developed by Porsche, graphic elements of the highest visual quality can now be printed onto the painted body parts of a vehicle. Initially, customers who purchase a new 911 can have the bonnet personalised with a design based on their own fingerprint. In the medium term, other customer-specific designs will become available. This service is available through the Porsche Centres, which establish contact with the customer consultants at the Exclusive Manufaktur in Zuffenhausen. These consultants discuss the entire process with the customer, from submission of the fingerprint to completion of the vehicle.
“Individuality is very important for Porsche customers. And no design can be more personal than your own fingerprint,” says Alexander Fabig, Vice President Individualization and Classic. “Porsche is a pioneer in personalisation and has developed the direct printing method together with partners. We’re especially proud of having developed a completely new product offering based on new technologies. A key factor in this was the different disciplines working together in the project team.”
For the project, a so-called “technology cell” was set up in the paint shop of the Zuffenhausen training centre. It was here that the new software and hardware as well as the associated painting and manufacturing process were developed and tested. The decision to locate the technology cell in the training centre was intentional: among other things, it will also be used to introduce the trainees to pioneering technologies.
Direct printing makes it possible to produce designs that are not possible with conventional painting. In terms of look and feel, the new technology is clearly superior to film application. The operating principle is similar to that of an inkjet printer: using a print head, the paint is applied to three-dimensional components automatically and without overspray. “The ability to control the nozzles individually permits targeted application of every paint droplet,” explains Christian Will, Vice President Production Development at Porsche AG. “The complexity is due to the necessity of harmonising three technologies: robot technology (control, sensors, programming), application technology (print head, graphic handling) and paint technology (application process, paint).”
Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
If a customer decides to enhance their 911 with the direct printing method, the specialists in the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur disassemble the bonnet following series production. The customer’s biometric data is processed to make sure it cannot be used for an unauthorised purpose.
The entire process takes place in direct communication with the customer, who has a complete overview of how their personal data is used and is also integrated in the creation process of their print graphic. After the robot paints the unique design, a clear coat is applied and the bonnet is polished to a high-gloss finish, in order to meet the highest quality standards. Then the enhanced component is reinstalled. The service costs 7,500 euros (including VAT) in Germany and will be provided by the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur on request from March 2020.
The Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur creates very personal customer vehicles through a combination of perfect craftsmanship and high technology. Thirty highly qualified employees devote their full attention to every detail and take the time needed to achieve a perfect result through painstaking manual work.
The experts can make use of an extremely wide range of visual and technical personalisation options to realise exterior and interior enhancements. In addition to special customer vehicles, the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur also produces limited small series, as well as editions that combine high-quality materials with modern production technologies to create a harmonious overall concept.