One of the many benefits of 3D printing technology is its ability to bring customization to a multitude of products, from jewelry and clothes to tools and parts for bikes and cars. British premium auto manufacturer MINI, owned by BMW, is now offering its customers the chance to purchase select, 3D printed upgrade products, with the design of their making, with the new MINI Yours Customised product range. The package will be available in 2018 for several MINI models in multiple large markets, including Europe.
According to BMW Blog, “The product range offered by MINI Yours Customised will once again make the British premium brand a pioneer and trendsetter in the area of customer orientation, expansion of digital services and the establishment of innovative production processes.”
The international MINI community has always valued individualization, and already offers a wide range of original MINI accessories and special equipment. But, with the advent of MINI Yours Customised, customers will have an even greater opportunity to add “unmistakable accents” to their MINIs.
The new product range includes LED door sills and door projectors, passenger side interior trims, and indicator inlays, also known as side scuttles, and MINI has developed a special new Online Shop just for the MINI Yours package, prioritizing ease of use and customer orientation.
“Designing a vehicle is now enhanced to include a creative interaction between the manufacturer and the customer. In this process, MINI offers the customer an opportunity to select between different options and integrates them actively in the design process while retaining the typical MINI language of design,” the BMW Blog writes.
The Online Shop guides the user through the various design and operation steps, giving them free creative rein of the entire process. Customers can design the trim and side scuttles with surface finishes, patterns, and colors in any sequence, and a selection of design worlds, which offer “thematically tailored” colors and icons, is also available. Users can also fill in, scale, and position a text field if they want to add their name or a personal message. Different colors, icons, and patterns from the design worlds can also be used to design the illuminated door sills and LED door projectors, and can be supplemented by text, so users can create a personal signature “expressing the attitude, individual interests and lifestyle of the MINI driver.”
Customers can also share their designs through their social media accounts, and if any issues arise during the design and configuration process, they can email or call the experts at the special MINI Yours Customised call center. Designs can also be modified at any time if the customer has a new idea, or wants to “match a change in their aspirations.”
The customized part designs are digitally transferred to production facilities in Germany, manufactured through advanced laser lettering and 3D printing processes, and shipped in just a few weeks. The parts and components can be easily integrated into a customer’s MINI, and exchanged if the vehicle is sold later. MINI uses professional 3D printing facilities, configured for this product range by the BMW Group through strategic partnerships with companies like Carbon, EOS, and HP Inc., to manufacture the parts, made out of high-grade plastic. In addition, the 3D printing procedure for the MINI parts has been tailored to produce large numbers of individual products.
“The computer-based laser lettering for production of the door sill with customer-specific styling has also been designed specifically to match the stringent product-quality guidelines of MINI,” BMW Blog notes.
The side scuttles are 3D printed and painted in one of five available colors, with scalable surface finishes and patterns also available. In addition, customers can also make different designs for both sides of the vehicle, and they can be easily swapped out. The trim is also 3D printed, and available in five colors and multiple patterns, icons, and finishes, and, as BMW Blog puts it, is “the perfect identification feature for creativity in the interior of the MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door or MINI convertible automobiles in the current model generation.”
The eye-catching illuminated door trims are available in either brushed or black aluminum, and designs are inscribed with high-quality laser technology. The MINI LED door trims are customized for the driver and passenger side doors, and don’t require any wiring for LED illumination – the field is actually activated when the door opens by a magnetic switch; however, rear door trims are not illuminated.
The door projectors, available in several patterns and three different colors, can include icons from different design worlds, along with text, and can be installed in MINI vehicles that already have door entry lights or projectors.
In addition to the new global web shop for the MINI Yours Customised products, the company has installed a new distribution chain for direct customer sales.