Toronto, Ontario — As Cadillac prepares to take its first all-electric offering to market, the luxury OEM is assuring collision repair shops that the 3D printed parts on the upcoming CELESTIQ will cause no disruption to what it is calling a “truly bespoke experience” for drivers.
The brand’s new flagship model, set to enter production in December 2023, is set to contain 115 3D printed parts in an effort to “leverage Cadillac’s legacy of craftsmanship and innovation,” according to the company, but will provide repairers no unique challenges going forward.
General Motors spokesperson Katie Minter told Repairer Driven News that “3D printing allows us to do new and interesting things but the final result is really the same.
“In a lot of cases, a repairer may not even know a part is 3D printed. A damaged component like a bracket will behave and crack like any other plastic or polymer part and require a replacement. The metal 3D printed parts are primarily interior trim pieces less prone to collision damage—the steering wheel component, window switches, and seat belt buckles. It’s also worth noting that 3D-printed components continue to represent a small percentage of production parts.”
Minter also dispelled the understandable assumption that with the increased prevalence of 3D printed parts, dealerships may be able to produce their own replacement parts in-house, pointing out that many printed parts still undergo certain finishing processes that cannot be replicated at a dealership.
“The CELESTIQ’s 3D printed metal steering wheel décor comes out of the printer requiring additional finishing work as well. Due to the processes required for final parts, replacements cannot be printed at a dealership.”
She says that most of the other 3D printed parts are small brackets, trim pieces, window switches, grab handles, console décor and structural pieces.
According to Repairer Driven News, the CELESTIQ’s underbody includes six large precision sand-cast aluminum components and will contain more than 300 fabricated pieces throughout the body structure, chassis, interior and electrical components.
As well, the vehicle will feature a “Fixed Smart Glass Roof” fitted with Suspended Particle Device Technology, multi-color ambient lighting, and “lighting choreography” to “create a unique interplay between the exterior and the amount of light allowed into the cabin through the four-zone” roof.
Finally, several areas of the exterior are comprised of carbon fibre, in addition to an aluminum grille, header, rocker, taillamp and headlamp trim, brushed aluminum bodyside trim, aluminum eTrunk lining and brushed metal liftgate body openings.
Do any repairers out there have experience with 3D printed parts? Could you immediately tell the difference, or were you surprised that the part in your hand came from a printer? Let us know in the comments below.