3D Printing of Electronics and Displays onto Existing Automotive Components and Structures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG


This research is funded through EPSRC and aims to develop an innovative new manufacturing technology for the automotive sector, and thus fits in the Manufacturing Technologies research area.

The aim of this research is to investigate the direct printing of electronics onto pre-existing automotive components and to assess their quality and compliance with Jaguar Land Rover standards and their long-term performance and failure modes under end-use conditions. The key objectives to achieve this aim are:

Evaluate various techniques compatible with printing onto complex 3D surfaces (various materials - plastics, rubber, paint, etc. in different areas and parts - not integrated or already integrated into car). Down-select technique(s) for further evaluation, and listing of the challenges in such a methodology to enable printing and manufacturing. This will comprise a comprehensive literature survey and systematic set of scoping experiments.
Investigate printing techniques on to already made 3D objects with various substrates etc. This will require a comprehensive experimental design to evaluate different printed materials and substrates using the down-selected printing method(s). Some modification of the existing printing technologies may be necessary to enable printing onto complex surfaces. A proof of concept on three different applications, A-surface, body part exterior, body part interior will be developed and used for performance analysis.
Assessment of the compliance to quality reproduction and JLR design that is achievable and study performance in comparison with JLR in car electronics standards and GRADE reviews.
Study of quality of printing and life expectancy in automotive domain including a detailed Failure mode study (FMEA).
- A substantive contribution to knowledge that will focus on the following:
Understanding of the most appropriate printing technology, processing conditions and materials for the direct printing of electronics onto existing 3D automotive structures.
The technical limitations of the printing method and those of the deposited electronics, including the quality obtainable.
The performance of the printed electronics against that of JLR standards and the long-term failure modes and effects operating.
- A working prototype of a printed display, lighting or functional electronics on three different applications, A-surface, Body part exterior, Body part interior.
- A PhD thesis into 3D printing techniques for existing parts or integrated car automotive domain; containing challenges, materials, process, equipment design, manufacturing direction, failure modes and recommendations.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509401/1 30/09/2015 25/02/2022
1828959 Studentship EP/N509401/1 27/10/2016 25/02/2022 Kevin John Couling
Description Chasmtek - Alternative FTO flexible substrate collaboration 
Organisation CHASM Advanced Materials, Inc
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Samples provided by partnership under review in conjunction with current data set of testing, to determine viability and compatibility of technology towards flexible, low cost, non-toxic electronics deposited onto polymers.
Collaborator Contribution Samples have been provided at a significantly reduced cost and regular communication on avenues to best used their materials, prior to fully utilising their solution base for full application within the project outline
Impact Collaborator has requested a white paper, however the findings should warrant a full paper for the community
Start Year 2020
Description MSOLV - Solar simulator for I-V characterisation 
Organisation Msolv Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Use of Newport solar simulator for characterisation of solar cells, to expand on MSOLV facilities and calibrate for development of I-V characterisation
Collaborator Contribution Access and support to the equipment at there facilities
Impact Investment into research equipment to expand on research facilities and calibration equipment, including the expansion of collaboration into other 3D printing areas for MSOLV and there facilities
Start Year 2019